I have tried to listen to audio books when my husband and I traveled. He seems to be able to focus better and always enjoyed the books. I would find myself glancing out the window at the passing scenery and my mind would go somewhere else. Then I'd realize I missed a whole section of the story. My husband would have to catch me up when we stopped for lunch.
One Small Victory when we took a recent trip, and I was able to stay with it the whole time. That may be due in part to the fact that I was driving and couldn't gaze out at the scenery and start thinking of some other story.
However, the real reason, I suspect, is because I was listening to my story, my words, and marveling at how hearing them read with the dramatic interpretation was so different from reading words on a page. It was the same thrill I experienced the first time one of my plays was performed on stage.
Talk about a story coming alive.
As I listened to my book, I caught small scenes I'd forgotten about, so that was like listening to something brand new. In other places there was a clever description or a terrific few lines of dialogue, and I'm thinking, "Wow, did I write that?"
At one point I turned to my husband and asked, "Is it okay to say, 'gosh this is good?'"
He laughed and patted my knee. "Yes. You can say that."
Thinking about that experience as I started to prepare this blog post, I realized how important it is for us writers to read our work aloud, or listen to someone else read it. This is done for screenplays and stage plays all the time, and it is amazing how helpful that is in catching the awkward phrasing and awkward dialogue.
In those critique groups I belonged to, we read our own work, but I think I would love to have a group where we read each others work aloud.
Last week Kim Pearson had a post about using Adobe to have your work read aloud. It is not the same as a dramatic reading, but still a good resource.
Do you read your work aloud? Would you join a critique group where you read each others work?
Maryann Miller is a novelist, editor and sometimes actress. Her latest release is Open Season as an e-book for all devices. To check out her editing rates visit her website. When not working, Maryann likes to take her dog for a walk and work outside on her little ranch in East Texas.