Words often sound better when flowing through our minds than they do when we read them aloud. When I have a piece of writing that is almost there—almost at that point where I’m ready to release it into the world—I read it aloud. This helps me catch spots that don’t sound smooth, spots that need tweaking, and even spots that don’t work at all.
How do you read silently? Do you digest clumps of words at a time? Do you read word for word? Do you hear every word in your mind?
There are no correct answers to those questions because reading and comprehension are so individual. By reading aloud, you won’t be able to talk yourself into believing it sounds logical, you won’t be able to kid yourself into thinking that it makes sense, and you won’t be apt to release your work before it is in the best format to meet the goals you intended.
By reading aloud:
- you’ll test to hear if them images portrayed in the narration come through. Does the reading conjure up just the right tone and feel?
- you’ll test whether the dialogue sounds authentic. Do the characters have individual voices or do they all sound alike? Can you hear the individual dialects coming through? Does it sound like real speech?
- you’ll be able to determine if you use all the listeners senses to evoke a well-rounded experience. Do you pull the readers into the life of your character? Can they hear, feel, smell and taste what he/she feels as well as see it?
- when you’ve written non-fiction, you’ll be able to determine if it sounds smooth. Is it clear and easy to follow? Are the transitions from topic to topic well done?
When reading aloud, sections of your writing needing attention will become readily apparent. When reading silently, it’s easier for your mind to smooth them out for you. By airing those words to a room or, if you’re really brave, to an audience, you’ll find and be able to eliminate trouble spots and put the final touches on your work.