Tue, 28 Feb 2006
Speaking text aloud
In my hints
for revising, I wrote:
Read your text aloud. You don't have to write like you speak, but
reading aloud changes your perspective. Awkwardness will jump
out at you.
Reading aloud is one way to get some distance, to separate the piece
from your memory of writing it. Putting it aside for a day
or, better, a week does the same thing. I find that reading a
printed copy helps me see things I don't see on a screen. Can
you find other tricks?
Richard P. Gabriel tells the
story of one writer who would tape his work to a wall, go to the
other side of the room, and read it through binoculars.
I hardly ever read my text aloud without remembering an incident
from my days as an English major. In one class, we had to write a
poem. Other people read them aloud. When someone read mine, I
discovered that what sounded OK when I read it sounded awful when he
did. There were places where I slowed down, sped up, or placed
emphasis and he did not. He didn't because there were no cues in
the text to tell him to do that. All the cues were in my auditory
memory or imagination.
Recently I've been experimenting with having my Powerbook read the
text to me (Program -> Services -> Speech). "Vicki's" rather odd
intonation helps me find awkwardnesses that I don't otherwise
notice. She's not a replacement for my own reading, but I think it's
worth listening to her reaction.
## Posted at 09:35 in category /misc