One exercise that can help a writer in the revision process is to read the work aloud. This technique is especially useful when it comes to dialogue. Dialogue is one of the tools writers use to get ideas across through action and scene. However, you don’t want your dialogue to feel like an info-dump, or like it’s forced. This is where reading aloud comes in handy (you could even record yourself and listen back). Read it as though it would be said in the context of your book and ask yourself: is this natural, or would this come across as a lecture in front of a classroom? Making sure that the dialogue sounds natural will help create believably in your audience. Of course, you don’t want to go too far to the opposite extreme so that it resembles a transcribed conversation. Refrain from using excessive, likes or ums or uhs or whatever else people say when they’re talking to one another, also minimize repetitiveness. Even though it’s natural, it’s unsettling to read. I will be the first to admit that I sometimes fall into this category and I’m currently working through my entire manuscript to trim dialogue where necessary (I do have one character that uses an excessive amount of ‘likes,’ but I can justify it, and I’m doing it on purpose to make a point. If you’re going to do something like that, be able to justify it).
I've also noticed reading aloud helps slow you down so you can more easily pick out typos and other mistakes. It helps give you a feel for your voice and the flow of the story in general. But, as the writer, you’re close to the work and it’s hard to step back and get a real grip on everything (click here for ideas to step back). So hearing your work aloud is another really terrific way to hear the flaws. If you are lucky enough to have a friend willing to read your entire novel aloud to you, then go for it. But not only am I not ready for people to read my entire book as it is now, but asking them to sit with me and read it aloud feels like too big a favor. This idea of hearing my story read to me has eluded me for a while.
|How to find Text-To-Speech on Kindle Touch.|
Open up the Document, tap the top for the menu bar, open the settings menu,
and on the bottom you will see "Turn on Text-to-Speech."
I only listened to the first 9000 words or so, but there were a lot of other things that I noticed: Words that, on paper, look good but I didn't like the sound of them. Repetitive words/sounds of words I hadn't noticed before. Confusion as to which character was speaking. Etc. I'm sure you will notice some of your own quirks as you listen to your story. But seriously, talk about stepping back from your book, this was incredibly helpful in that department.
And though this method is by no means perfect, as it is being read by a computerized voice, and pronunciation and inflection will undoubtedly be off. But overall, this experience, while tedious at times, was very valuable, I am going to incorporate it into my revision process here on in, and if you’re looking to add some new techniques, I found this to be very helpful.
And please, let me know in the comments if you try this and how it works for you!