March 16, 2010

Tuesday Edit Crunch: A Sound On the Breeze

Quick Announcement!
Tonight, Tuesday, March 16, 2010 – 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Valor Author Lollapalooza Book Launch
A world of difference…
Barnes & Noble Booksellers
The Gateway
6 Rio Grande Drive
Salt Lake City, UT

Meet authors Michele Ashman Bell (Young Adult-Coming of Age/Romance), Tristi Pinkston (Mystery/Comedy), Karen E. Hoover (YA Fantasy), Daron D. Fraley (Speculative Fiction) and Kimberly Job (Romance) and check out their books!

Welcome to Tuesday Edit Crunch, an informative, fresh, concise, and important part of this nutritious... blog...


Today's crunch is all about voice. Not Point of View or getting inside the character. It's about YOUR voice reading YOUR ms OUT LOUD. To SOMEBODY.
My captive audience is my husband. We live in Wyoming, where the nearest ANYTHING is at least an hour away. He knows when I grab my laptop on my way out to the car, there is a very good chance he will be listening to my latest WiP. He knows I NEED him to do this, and he knows what is expected of him. And sometimes, I know he would rather listen to music, so I just write or edit. But here is the point:
AT NO OTHER TIME DO I CATCH SO MANY MISTAKES, MISUNDERSTANDINGS, UNNECESSARY WORDS, REPETITIONS, INFO DUMPS, OR PLOT HOLES. AT NO OTHER TIME DO I SEE SO CLEARLY THE PROPER INFLECTIONS, THE CHARACTER'S TRUE VOICE, OR WHEN THINGS ARE HOPPIN' VS. WHEN THINGS ARE DRAGGIN'.

Hmm, I have something with CAPS today. ANYHOOO...

When I am reading a work to someone, a few things happen:
  1. I am very aware that the person listening will have opinions about what I am sharing with them.
  2. I CARE about those opinions more so than when I was writing the story.
  3. I really want this person to hear what I am sharing in the best possible light, and UNDERSTAND.
Suddenly, I am editing my work with a 6th sense. My listener's sense. I listen for his laugh at the right moments, I listen to his questions if he didn't understand something, his ooh's and ahh's... his response is a tool for tightening my ms.
And yes, if I forget my gratitude for this process I can so easily get defensive. But we've been doing this enough now that it seldom comes to blows. Or uncomfortable silence, anyway. We've just learned what to expect. If my sister lived closer, I would probably more often use her. But like I said... Wyoming. So my husband gets the job!

Try it! Even if you can't find a listener, read it out loud. You will still catch so many things the eyes miss on their own.

And that is our Tuesday Edit Crunch for this week! I want to open my window to the fresh spring air and hear a low murmur, voices of writers reading their WiPs aloud... Oh BRRR it's COLD out there. I'm closing the window, but you get it, right?

Have you put this to the test? Leave a comment!

Watch out for the the K's, they're especially crunchy. 

5 comments:

Elana Johnson said...

Reading out loud is a priceless way to see how things flow. How they sound. It's awesome.

And will you be at B&N tonight??? Suzette Saxton and I will be there. Come find us! Or we'll find you!

Kate said...

I've read it out loud to myself and caught so many awkward constructions, especially in dialogue. I should try the laptop in the car trick since I'm also in the middle of nowhere.

Krista said...

Elana, I WISH I could be there tonight! I will be here in Cody, reading my part as narrator in our RS Birthday Dinner program. SOMEDAY!!! (there we go with the CAPS again)

Kate, it makes the trip faster, and opens up some great discussion about plot ideas and such!

MT said...

I've heard this before, but it sunk in this time. It must be the caps. ;)

Annette Lyon said...

Such good advice! It's amazing how much you'll notice when reading aloud--even if it's just to yourself. Suddenly passages I thought were so great are clunky, or I find repeated words or a hundred other things.

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