Thursday, January 20, 2011

Said it before and I'll say it again...

... and again and again and again, until it's pried out of my cramped hands.

Avery Aames, a friend of mine and blog-sister on Mystery Lovers' Kitchen (her post today: here) talks about the importance of reading manuscripts aloud before turning them in.

If there's one thing I insist on before any manuscript gets sent, it's my reading it aloud at least once before it goes. Both Buffalo West Wing (out now) and Grace Interrupted (coming in June) were read aloud multiple times. I think I hit three reads on both. Not positive. The most recent White House Chef book (just turned in -- no title yet) I read aloud twice.

Do I catch things? ALWAYS!

By the time I do my reading (hand me a glass of water, please. No, make it a pitcher!), I've usually caught consistency issues but I don't always pick up on those dreaded word echoes.

Avery mentions today (in the comments) that she found the word "back" four times in a short passage. I can't tell you how often that happens. While I'm writing, my brain often latches onto an unusual word and pops it in repeatedly. I usually catch these in the first couple of revisions, because it's unusual and it sticks out. It's the small, common, regular words that slip by. Words like "back" or "some" or "get" or "know." Uh-huh. That's where reading aloud makes all the difference.

Catch those slippery little buggers and cast them away!

When you're writing, do you find certain words pop for you? Does the word change depending on what you're writing, or do you have some that pop up all the time?


J Q Rose said...

Oh yes. I just didn't realize how many times I used just in my novella. I just can't imagine that. I was just so embarrassed when my editor found it just everywhere!

I enjoyed chatting with you at Writers Chatroom tonight. Best wishes.

Julie Hyzy said...

LOL - me too! I like "just" - I use it way too much. It's just such an easy word to add in there. LOL
Thanks - I had a great time in the Chatroom. Good luck with your writing!