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Hearing your work

In case this helps anyone, I am sharing an idea a writer friend of mind gave, which has helped me a lot.  When I've got to an appropriate point in my writing, I export it as a PDF then click on the read-aloud function.  Somehow, just listening to it being read back in a monotonous voice with no expression whatever, brings out the power (or weakness) of the writing and helps me pick up on anything that jars.  I don't know if that helps anyone but it certainly helps me.  Good luck with your writing everyone, Angela.

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Replies (15)
  • Great idea, Angela. A lot of people do this downloading it to their kindle. Not sure what the tone is like though.

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    • That sounds a bit too technically challenging for me, but it is an excellent reminder to listen to our words one way or another. 

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      • Wow, I've been there. I feel your pain. Just back typing with ten fingers again on my new little laptop. My own fault for totalling my hard-drive by feeding the keyboard a cup of tea.  Special circumstances, but I don't drink at my desk any more. And shake my head over all the writers on YouTube tapping away happily between sipping from large cups of steaming liquid. . .

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        • I wish I could say it'll be sorted soon, but the freezer died five years ago and still hasn't been replaced, and we managed seven years without much hot water before getting a new boiler- so my track record suggests something of a wait.

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          • Oh, that's too bad. It was 11 months for me. I hope you manage something sooner than you think.

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          • Word has a read back function too which I always use. Great for picking up silly mistakes and those clunky sentences.

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            • I use the word read aloud all the time. It helps with commas, mistakes and flow.

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              • I use the word read aloud all the time. It helps with commas, mistakes and flow.

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                • Yes, Word is easy, but didn't know about PDF, so thank you for this. You can do read aloud in Scrivener too, in many different voices, matching accents for your characters etc. I agree Angela, it's so helpful to pick up errors or repetitions etc. 

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                  • Yes, Word is easy, but didn't know about PDF, so thank you for this. You can do read aloud in Scrivener too, in many different voices, matching accents for your characters etc. I agree Angela, it's so helpful to pick up errors or repetitions etc. 

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                    • Brilliant idea, Angela. I didn't know this was an option, and I'll definitely be trying it.

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                      • Well everyone, your responses have made me smile - not least because I realise that I actually sounded like I knew what I was doing!  The brevity of my instructions about PDF was because I actually don't know at all and can only fumble my way through at the best of times.  I use a laptop which has a Word-cheapo-generic-lookalike but doesn't have the same easy functions as the full programme, hence my roundabout way of hearing read-aloud.  Anyway, I muddle through somehow.  I once read from the excellent Sol Stein (Solutions for Writers) that the best person to read aloud your work was the one with most monotonous, tedious voice imaginable.  I agree! Suddenly anything verbose or clunky sticks out and that vital fact that you forgot to tell your reader in chapter three becomes noticeable. Sol Stein's comment might even have been written before the heady days of home computers, let alone smartphones.  Thanks everyone for your feedback and more power to your writing, Angela.

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