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Thread: the advantage of reading aloud

  1. #1
    Registered User Ubercritter's Avatar
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    the advantage of reading aloud

    I read some years back about how james joyce, while writing finnegans wake actually had a scribe, mainly because he was going blind, but it also helped with quality and poetry of his work, because the act of reading aloud makes your work sound and flow much better.

    I was just wondering if any writers on the forum have consistently read their writings aloud and if it has helped in anyway with their style of writing?

    I have noticed that usually if you find a sentence clumsy and are wondering why, if you read it allowed it helps identify where you are going wrong.

    this ties in with a theory i once read, which explained that saying things allowed to yourself actually increases your chance of remembering it and understanding it. it was a theory put forward by julian jaynes.

  2. #2
    Registered User Delta40's Avatar
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    I always read my work out loud to the dog. For editing purposes it is a great idea. Without knowing why, it is true what reads well in my mind, can sound quite different out loud.
    Before sunlight can shine through a window, the blinds must be raised - American Proverb

  3. #3
    Death awaits...
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    I have written a novel and hundreds of poetry. I read everything out loud. It takes me forever. But like delta said it's a good idea, for editing purposes.
    However I also read work to myself a second time, to correct grammar and so on.

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    The Pen is Mightier Mariner's Avatar
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    I read my newspaper articles out-loud for flow, clarity and logical progression of ideas. For my fiction I don't read much of it out-loud, although I think I should. I do read my dialogue out-loud to ensure it sounds natural.

    On a kinda related note, I'm listening to F. Scott Fitzgerald's short stories on audiotape and oh my lord he's crazy amazing.
    "Smooth seas rarely make skillful sailors."

  5. #5
    perhapsist Panglossian's Avatar
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    Maybe using Text-to-Speech software like NaturalReader would help? Instead of reading your work aloud yourself, get the computer to read it back to you. Some of the computerized voices are very natural sounding.

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    Text-to-speech is not much use unless you can put up with a robotic voice reading every single word out loud like entries in a telephone directory (in my limited experience anyway).

    But reading your own work out loud is an useful test of how well your writing flows (particularly poetry) and you'll often spot a glitch that might not appear so obvious in print. If it's difficult to get your tongue around a particular sentence it usually means it needs a rewrite.

    H

  7. #7
    Postmodern Geek. TheChilly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ubercritter View Post
    I read some years back about how james joyce, while writing finnegans wake actually had a scribe, mainly because he was going blind, but it also helped with quality and poetry of his work, because the act of reading aloud makes your work sound and flow much better.

    I was just wondering if any writers on the forum have consistently read their writings aloud and if it has helped in anyway with their style of writing?

    I have noticed that usually if you find a sentence clumsy and are wondering why, if you read it allowed it helps identify where you are going wrong.

    this ties in with a theory i once read, which explained that saying things allowed to yourself actually increases your chance of remembering it and understanding it. it was a theory put forward by julian jaynes.
    For my last short story that I wrote, I took Stephen King's advice and shelved it when I was done, then picked it back up a couple of days later and read the prose aloud while crossing out and revising some areas where it seemed to have came off as clunky (Dialogue's not a problem for me).
    "We look at the world, at governments, across the spectrum, some with more freedom, some with less. And we observe that the more repressive the State is, the closer life under it resembles Death. If dying is deliverance into a condition of total non-freedom, then the State tends, in the limit, to Death. The only way to address the problem of the State is with counter-Death, also known as Chemistry." -- Thomas Pynchon, Against the Day

  8. #8
    Registered User Ubercritter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mariner View Post
    On a kinda related note, I'm listening to F. Scott Fitzgerald's short stories on audiotape and oh my lord he's crazy amazing.
    I have only ever read His 'Tender Is The Night'. I have a copy of 'The Great Gatsby' but have never got around to reading it.

    Is there anyway, you could throw some fitsgerald short stories my way, i would really appreciate it?

    I am listening to Hemingway's short stories on Audiobook, his prose is a bit maddening though, before this i never read anything; i don't think he's my type of writer.
    I bought a mic not long ago for two reasons. first, so i could create audiobooks, and second, so that when i read my writing out loud i can listen to it back, and see if it is the way i'm reading them or the way the sentences sound that aint so good.
    I am really enjoying creating Audiobooks. The first one i did was Lucian's 'Dialogues of the Gods', and now i am trying to do 'Pompey' by Jonathan Meades, which is rough going, but it is really helping me get my intonation and pronunciation right.
    Last edited by Ubercritter; 05-24-2011 at 12:59 AM.

  9. #9
    The Pen is Mightier Mariner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ubercritter View Post
    I have only ever read His 'Tender Is The Night'. I have a copy of 'The Great Gatsby' but have never got around to reading it.

    Is there anyway, you could throw some fitsgerald short stories my way, i would really appreciate it?

    I am listening to Hemingway's short stories on Audiobook, his prose is a bit maddening though, before this i never read anything; i don't think he's my type of writer.
    I love Hemingway, but I couldn't image listening to his writings. I don't think every style is meant to be read aloud.

    Fitzgerald's, however, sounds amazing aloud. I'm using a free app on my iPhone, but these are the same recording. All free:

    http://www.archive.org/details/selec..._0902_librivox
    "Smooth seas rarely make skillful sailors."

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    That's a great advice! I'd definitely do it whenever I think I need to edit my works.

  11. #11
    confidentially pleased cacian's Avatar
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    I type outloud. I write outloud too and so reading outloud is different to the first two ones.
    But yes I read outloud it helps with understanding.
    it may never try
    but when it does it sigh
    it is just that
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