I’ve done a lot of editing and revising this week–in between those domestic things that pop up: refrigerator repair, grocery shopping, reading a book for a book club, reading MSS for critique groups. Somehow, though, when you’re editing/revising, you feel as if you’re not accomplishing much. It’s not as if you have a word count which keeps increasing; though, in the case of my editing/revising I’m trying to reduce the word count.
Bottom line is you can’t tell how successful you’ve been by simply looking at what you’ve edited/revised. For me, the measure is how what I’ve written sounds. If you’re not employing reading your work aloud as an editing/revising technique, start now.
First and foremost, you can tell if your dialogue sounds authentic; i.e., as if two real people are speaking. I even do the accents. One of my protagonists is Russian but speaks excellent English with just a slight accent. The other protagonist has an upper crust British accent but has lived in America so long she’s quite adept with American slang and vernacular. Makes for interesting conversations and great fun in reading aloud. My neighbors might not agree.
Reading your work aloud is also a big help in spotting typos and most grammatical errors, the ones your eyes skip over when you do a silent read. I think it’s because you enunciate each word and your ear hears any discordance.
Of course, doing this in a coffee shop or a library is not the best of ideas–not that I’ve ever done that. Give it a try if you’ve never done it. I think you’ll like the result. Just pretend that your publisher is having you do the audio book version. Great fun and useful, too.
Today’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt should have evoked something dark and supernatural for me, but I went completely in the opposite direction and ended up with pure schmaltz. Don’t let the title, “Through a Glass, Darkly,” fool you. It really is pretty sentimental. If you don’t see the link on the title in the line above, scroll to the top of the page, click on the Friday Fictioneers tab, then select the story from the drop-down list.