Reading Aloud Can Make You Hate Anything

I’m a believer in reading drafts aloud. For some reason, I catch mistakes and awkward language in ways silent reading simply doesn’t catch, as well as there being other revision benefits. I think the brain processes differently when it reads aloud than when it reads silently. Whatever, but I value the practice during revision. I recommend it when possible. However, one thing is abundantly clear.

You can come to hate anything if you read enough of it aloud.

This comes up as I’m in the midst of a particularly intensive editing session of a novel I originally started writing 14 years ago. I’m really trying to get it finished-finished and perfect (as much as possible) before sending it to a publisher who has expressed interest. I promised them I’d be done by January, which means I want to go over it again and again a ton in the next couple months to be done on time. After all, the initial draft was finished over 12 years ago and I’m such a different writer now than then. Some might even recommend junking something so old rather than continuing to work at it, but I am very fond of this one…it being the first full book I completed, not to mention all the other reasons. So, over the last couple weeks I went through the whole thing line by line with a fine-toothed comb.  Now I’m reading each chapter aloud, line by line. One chapter a day.

Now, this isn’t easy. It’s a short novel, but there are only 8 chapters. For me, these are some helluva long chapters. I am very fond of this book, but reading that much of it aloud I am coming to hate it.

I think trying to read that much of anything aloud would do the same.

Still, it’s got to be done. It’s the only way I’ll be satisfied with this thing enough to send. 14 years means I’ve gotten locked into a possibly endless cycle of revision and re-revision. I need to put this thing to bed…one way or another.

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About David S. Atkinson

David S. Atkinson enjoys typing about himself in the third person, although he does not generally enjoy speaking in such a fashion. However, he is concerned about the Kierkegaard quote "Once you label me you negate me." He worries that if he attempts to define himself he will, in fact, nullify his existence...
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