Thursday, December 6, 2012

Best Writing Advice #2: Edit with Your Ears

I'm in the final throes of getting The Seven Year Itch to publication. It's on track to be a little early. But this last bit of editing is indeed the hardest part.

I've read this book no less than a gazillion times and after a while all the words seemed to run together. And it's usually in this last stage that I begin to read what I think I wrote, rather than what's actually reflected on paper. I call this place The Valley of  Blissful Delusion.

That's a wonderful but dangerous place.

You're so weary, war torn, and ready to hit the publish button so you can get on with the next project that you will convince yourself that everything you've written is absolutely the most brilliant writing known to man. And, yes, it's time to heap the rewards of your months and months of hard work, sweat, and toil onto the public for their consumption.

But, if you don't do this last step, your book very well might be a steaming heap know the rest.

The second best piece of writing advice I've ever gotten is READ YOUR WORK OUT LOUD.

The entire book, you ask? YES, THE ENTIRE BOOK.

Even the Acknowledgements? DID YOU NOT JUST HEAR WHAT I SAID?!

Reading your work aloud will help you identify all the mistakes that your brain can no longer detect due its extended sabatical in the Valley of Blissful Delusion. Missing words, awkward phrasing, rhythmic issues, word flow, too much narrative, too little narrative, unnatural dialogue, the stupid stuff you thought sounded really brilliant in your brain but loses its shine when spoken out loud...yes, it helps you catch all that stuff.

If you skip this step, you are doing yourself and your readers a great disservice. And you might unintentionally publish a steaming heap of...well...see paragraph 5. 

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 Check out my new release: The Seven Year Itch (A J.J. McCall Novel).

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