>> Saturday, February 27, 2010
Over the years, I have done a lot of editing, revising, rewriting, and all. It's a great deal of work and sometimes very frustrating. It doesn't have the same appeal, at least for me, than creating the world in the first place. But it's absolutely necessary if one strives for excellence.
Having said that, it's always nice to fix something and make it better. Over time, I'm likely to go over it multiple times. And I have some fantastic people who take the time to read over it and give me comments - I've had my eyes opened to many things from thoughtful reviewers.
Still, of all the tricks and methods I use to clean up and polish my work, nothing helps me find typos and grammatical errors, nothing highlights out an awkward sentence, nothing ensures dialog that sounds real like taking the effort to read it out loud.
I've always read my work out loud. It's essential when you write rhyme/rhythm poetry, as I did in high school, to read it out loud. That kind of poetry (and, in my opinion, all poetry) is best when read aloud...or it probably isn't very good poetry.
When I moved on to short stories, I found that reading aloud was just as helpful. My husband of the time wasn't fond of listening, so I didn't write much, but, when I did, I'd hole up somewhere and read it out loud. Always.
My relationship with Lee has really changed things. He not only lets me read it out loud, he likes it. He listens. Reading things out loud to someone receptive and listening, someone interested, someone brilliant (and opinionated), is far more useful than reading to oneself. The humorous parts stand out, of course, but the reaction, the interplay, makes polishing not only more effective, but far more fun.
I wouldn't want to edit any other way.