Improving Your Writing by Reading Aloud
The Music of Spoken Word
- Well written prose has a rhythm and flow to it. You become more aware of this when you read aloud.
- It helps you find your unique voice as a writer when you read your work aloud.
- Reading aloud engages a larger perception of language.
Improving Your Editing
- You are more likely to spot errors or passages that cry out for editing: stilted dialogue, wordy sentences, confusion over who is speaking, repetition, irrelevant material and overuse of certain words.
Reading to an Audience
- Choose your passage carefully. Does it engage the reader. Does it stand alone without a boring preamble? Could it use some further editing?
- Reading to an audience gets easier – especially if you rehearse.
- Have a glass of water handy. Drink some before you speak and if you sense your mouth is dry.
- Breathe! Take a deep breath before you get up to read. Breathe from your diaphragm.
- It is better to use a recently edited, printed copy in 12 point font or larger than a book.
- Use reading glasses. Even if you don’t usually use them, glasses can help you hold the paper a little farther from your face. You don’t know how good the lighting will be till you get up to the front. It makes you look more “authorly”.
- Stage actors learn to deal with inevitable stumbles, such as losing ones place or forgetting lines by ad libbing, or pretending that the pauses are intentional.
The Compelling Reading
- Hand out cards of bookmarks before you start your reading so you don’t have to think about that at the end.
- Slow down. Enunciate and add pauses where they are called for. Don’t be a robot, appreciate the work you are reading and what you are sharing with the audience.
- Enjoy yourself.
- Leave them wanting more!