Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Give Your Book a Listen

Is the story on the page the same as the story in your head?  When you finish revision and final proofreading rounds, it is a good idea to give your finished manuscript a listen. 

The process of listening to the narration highlights problems such as:

1. Smoothness of flow.

2. Awkward transitions between scenes or chapters.

3. Repetitive word usage.

4. Clunky, run-on, or repetitive dialogue and dialogue tags.

5. Missing and redundant information.

6. Awkward choreography of action scenes.

7. Boring passages.

8. Ratio of narrative versus dialogue and action.

9. Spelling and grammar errors.

10. Missing words.

Unless you can bribe or coerce someone to read your story to you, there are several tools to do the task. Most of them are free, or free for the basic program. Some offer additional voices or functions at a cost. The "narrators" sometimes stumble over words, but it won't insert words that aren't there the way your mind fills in gaps as you read.

Having your story read aloud gives you an idea of how your manuscript might sound as an audio book. Some programs give you the option of turning the narration into an audio file. But please, for the love of books, don't upload the file as an audio book. Audio books are more complex than that. They require a script and file specifications not provided by a text to speech program.

Learn more about audio book production:

Diana Hurwitz is the author of Story Building Blocks: The Four Layers of Conflict, Story Building Blocks II: Crafting Believable Conflict, Story Building Blocks III: The Revision Layers, and the YA adventure series Mythikas Island. Her weekly blog, Game On: Crafting Believable Conflict explores how characters behave and misbehave. Visit DianaHurwitz.com for more information and free writing tools. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.



  1. I am currently in need of the very info you posted in this article. Thank you, Diana. Your timing is impeccable. :-)

  2. Debbie MarcussenJuly 3, 2019 at 3:51 AM

    Diana, May I share this post on my FB page?

  3. I wish the story was in my head. Great info. Gonna look up the text to speech tool. I'm getting sick of my own voice.

  4. I do read my manuscript aloud when I'm in the final editing stages, one from the computer monitor and again from a printed copy. I think I'd pay attention better reading myself than trying to listen to another voice do the job. My mind wanders when I listen to audiobooks, so I tend to stick to print editions when I read.

  5. Thanks for your article Diana. I'd be lost without Adobe PDF. I save my Word document and then save as Adobe Acrobat PDF. Open up and play narrator with the Word document open to make amendments. I listen as a reader rather than the writer (which is what happens if I read aloud my manuscript.


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