Make Your Editing Sing: Read Your Writing Aloud
You’ve spent weeks, months, maybe even years drafting your novel. That’s great! You’ve overcome one of the biggest hurdles to publishing – getting your thoughts on paper. Now you’re faced with an even more immense task. You have to turn those raw thoughts into a cohesive narrative, a strong story that propels readers from one sentence to another with such force that they can’t stop. It’s time to edit.
If you’re like a lot of writers, the very idea of editing makes you cringe. You put your thoughts down the first time. Why go back and mess with that artistic expression? Like it or not, though, writing is about communicating, and odds are, your first draft won’t communicate your ideas as well as it could. Good authors follow the mantra of William Zinsser, one of America’s preeminent writing instructors: rewriting is the essence of writing.
But how do you do that? Part of it, of course, is knowing the rules of grammar and applying them to your manuscript. Search out those incorrect “theirs” and misplaced commas.
Those rules, however, are only part of the task. Correct grammar is vital, but it won’t make your book a page-turner. For that, you need flow. You need to turn your writing into music.
Don’t worry; you don’t have to become a composer to write a novel. Still, it helps to think of your writing like a piece of music. Music has a rhythm, a cadence that draws in the listener and propels them through the piece. Good conversation also has this quality. If you want readers to keep reading, your writing needs it too.
When we pick up a piece of writing, even if we read silently, we still “hear” the words in our head. If you want to know how readers will hear your writing, read your work aloud.
Reading aloud during editing gains you some key advantages over reading silently. First, reading aloud forces you to slow down, so you’re better able to spot misspelled words and other typos. Second, you’ll be able to see if the pauses you’ve built in through punctuation make sense. Third, and most important, if your writing has any awkward sentences or poor transitions, you’ll pick up on them. They’ll sound wrong, like a missing note in a symphony.
Don’t just whisper your words either. Say them like you were talking to someone on the other side of the room. If you’re embarrassed that others might hear you, go to a room by yourself and shut the door, or read at night when everyone’s asleep. Whatever you have to do, find a way to hear your words, and then edit them relentlessly. You’ll know you’re done when you forget that the writing is yours and when, like your readers, you’re swept along on the music of your words.
From fantasy author Josh VanBrakle comes an epic new trilogy of friendship, betrayal, and explosive magic. Lefthanded teenager Iren Saitosan must uncover a forgotten history, confront monsters inspired by Japanese mythology, and master a serpentine dragon imprisoned inside a katana to stop a revenge one thousand years in the making.
Lodian culture declares lefthanded people dangerous and devil-spawned, and for Iren, the kingdom's only known Left, that's meant a life of social isolation. To pass the time and get a little attention, he plays pranks on the residents of Haldessa Castle. It's harmless fun, until one of his stunts nearly kills Lodia's charismatic heir to the throne. Now to avoid execution for his crime, Iren must join a covert team and assassinate a bandit lord. It's a suicide mission, and Iren's chances aren't helped when he learns that his new katana contains a dragon's spirit, one with a magic so powerful it can sink continents and transform Iren into a raging beast.
Adding to his problems, someone on Iren's team is plotting treason. When a former ally launches a brutal plan to avenge the Lefts, Iren finds himself trapped between competing loyalties. He needs to figure out who - and how - to trust, and the fates of two nations depend on his choice.
"A fast-paced adventure...led by a compelling cast of characters. Josh VanBrakle keeps the mysteries going." - ForeWord Reviews
Genre – YA epic fantasy
Rating – PG-13
Connect with Josh VanBrakle on Twitter