DOING A BOOK READING—OR MAYBE NOT

DickJaneRun jpegI shy away from doing book readings. For good reason.

You see, when I read out loud, I do it in a staccato monotone.

That droning voice is the reason I don’t even volunteer at my local writers’ groups to read their work out loud, let alone my own.

Okay, one reason for the way I read out loud is that I was a secretary and took dictation. Reading back shorthand isn’t a fluid process because translations are based on the sounds of the strokes written. When the boss gets revved up, my hand moved faster and so the phonetic symbols tended to become warped. Therefore, reading back a word that got slurred in the writing had to be sounded out— was it supposed to be an L and not an R? D-greg L n R jpeg

As a writer, I slow my speech when speaking into a tape recorder. That helps me catch “sound effects,” like too many s’s in a sentence. I can also listen for rhymes or tongue twisting phrases. I’m basically editing as I speak and listen, and I since it’s only me talking, I don’t care if I’m reading in a monotone.

Writers must strive to hear the cadence and flow of their words. This requires fine-tuning their inner ear to catch the word-kazoos that break the flow of the narrative. Unfortunately, when I’m singled out to read work, doing so sounds like a three-year-old reading, “see Spot run. See Jane run. See Dick run.”

So, these days, rather than embarrass anyone, including myself, I decline reading manuscript copy out loud and forgo doing book readings.

How about you? How fluid is your ability to read out loud and comprehend what you’re reading and hearing?

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About Catherine McLean

Author, Writing Instructor, Workshop Speaker. Home Web page for Readers is www.CatherineEmclean.com and for Writers it's www.WritersCheatSheets.com *** SPECIAL NOTE: My novel, Karma and Mayhem, earned a Night Owl Top Pick Review! ***
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4 Responses to DOING A BOOK READING—OR MAYBE NOT

  1. Karen Rossi says:

    Being a retired teacher and having had to read to kids every day, I imagine I could do a pretty credible job. However, I haven’t had to read my own novels to anyone. My poetry, yes, but one can practice reading a poem at home till it sounds great, so really there’s no comparison. I can only imagine I’d do a good job, but maybe I would blow it, if put to a test.

  2. Beth Carter says:

    I am shy at first but then enjoy reading aloud, but like most, I’m not crazy about my voice. I also know shorthand and can easily read your brief forms. 🙂

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