Since I’ve been posting about sound, I thought I would add one more article on the topic: reading your work out loud.
C. S. Lewis advised writing for the ear, not the eye, “make every sentence sound good.” To read more about the writing advice Lewis offered, click here. It’s a post I’ve linked to before.
Establishing a rhythm to your writing takes a lot of experience and practice. But reading out loud can benefit even beginning writers in a few different ways.
Catching typos. I speak slower than I read, so when I read aloud, I find more mistakes. It keeps me from skimming a familiar work.
Weeding out bad structure. This comes under making “every sentence sound good.” When I am writing a first draft, I get the words down any old way. Reading aloud can help me find sentences that are clunky or just plain ugly. The meaning is clear, but I need to find a more elegant or concise way to phrase it.
Smashing writer’s block. If you are stuck in a particular part of your writing, read it out loud and see if hearing your work provokes any ideas.
Working on dialogue. I don’t know if many writers do this, but I sometimes speak my dialogue while I am writing it or even if I am just thinking about it. (But I make sure I’m alone first.) It helps me make the conversation sound more natural and sometimes, as my characters talk among themselves, I find a new avenue to take in my writing.
As you write more, you will want to explore rhythm in your writing. The passage in my novel where my main character is sneaking through the night is one I am going to read out loud because I think if I can establish a rhythm in this section, it will make it more suspenseful.