Yes, I do talk to myself, and no, I don’t answer. Well, let me clarify. This Friday’s writing tip is to read your writing aloud. When I finished my historic mystery novel this year and started the editing process, I read every word. Out loud.
I read it aloud to myself (and the two JRTs that share my writing space) so I could hear those repetitive words and awkward sentences. Doing this helped me catch unique phrases I may have used twice in the same page. It also forced me to slow down the editing process. When you take the time to read out loud it helps you notice each word, the cadence of your prose, and if your character “talks” like a real person.
If you’re new to writing or in the second draft of your novel and haven’t tried this editing tip, I encourage you to attempt it. If you feel funny reading aloud, grab your cell phone and hold it to your ear. Just don’t be like the lady in the stall next to mine at the store. You should not (let me say it again) you should NOT talk on the phone in a public bathroom. It makes me think you’re talking to me, and my mother warned me never to talk to strangers!