Sunday, February 1, 2009

Take Time to Read Your Story Aloud

Edit Is a Four Letter Word, con't

The letter T is for:

Take time to read your story aloud

Reading your story aloud helps your writing flow with ease. When we write the words come silently from our brain. Often what we think we are writing and the clarity of it is not what our hand is doing. Our thoughts mask our actions. When we reread a story we have writing soon after it was composed, we often read what we intended to write. To us it may sound smooth, sensible, and clear. This is not always the case, and for this reason, we must read aloud and have others read our work aloud.

It is important to wait a few days or so after you have written your story to read it aloud, however. Waiting will help you find where your writing lacks smoothness and clarity. The same is true if you read it aloud at the various stages of editing. Your voice overrides what your brain intended to write, allowing you to read exactly what you did write.

Have others read your story as well. If you or another person stumbles in the reading, examine the sentence for clarity and flow.

Once you have decided that you are done, put the story aside for a few more days. Then return to it to see if it sounds as good as you had previously thought. Your readers and those great-great-grandchildren will appreciate your clarity.

There you have it: EDIT is a four letter word…one we can learn to love.

Educate yourself on grammar and punctuation rules.
Draft as many versions as needed for clarity.
Incorporate word and sentence variety.
Take time to read your story aloud.

Mary P., a student in my writing class once stated: We write for ourselves; we edit for others. This is so very true, and, as the purpose of writing is for others to read it, we must sharpen our editing skills.

Once you use these techniques I’ve outlined from Theodore Cheney’s book Getting the Words Right and those I have developed through my teaching, you will greatly improve not only your editing skills, but your writing, as well. When you edit with such focus that these methods require, you will begin to see your own personal writing style. A writing style evolves. Removing the excess and striving for clarity in your work, will allow you to recognize your style.

Writing Style will be a future topic.

Remember: Although editing is a difficult and lengthy task, you will develop skills that will improve your writing in the initial stages so editing will become easier. There is much detail here, so take one step at a time. Your readers will love you for the improvements, and you will be proud of your work.

©Aulicino 5 Dec 2008

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