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?
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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