This month at Witty Wordsmith I would like to challenge you to do one simple thing that could help you make a drastic improvement in your writing and editing skills. When you have finished your next post, take some time before you hit ‘send,’ go somewhere quiet, and re-read your post.
Read it out loud.
Read it to your child, your pet, your friends, or your living room wall. Whether you have a big audience or just yourself, force yourself to read the words you wrote out loud and really listen to them. This is exactly like the proofreading step that our ship’s simming guides emphasize, but it takes it one step further. It forces you as an author to listen to your words and evaluate them.
Oral storytelling traditions go back far further than written word, and most people can pick up mistakes or inconsistencies in a narrative more easily when listening to the words rather than just reading them. When you read your posts out loud, listen for the areas you really enjoy as well as the ones that you trip and stumble on. Keep and develop the former while re-writing the latter. If you have a partner who is willing to help you, read it to them and see if they have any suggestions. Be honest with yourself, if you have trouble reading something or it sounds confusing to you, you will want to change it. In general if something is confusing to you, the author – it will be doubly confusing to a reader.
Based in a script style, our sims are perfect for the ‘read out loud’ treatment. Most scripts are meant to be read out loud. Reading helps develop dialogue and character, and may give you clues on how to add thoughts and narrative in between the dialogue tags. It only take a few minutes to read, and it can greatly impact your writing progress!