Quick Tip: Listen to Your Manuscript WITHOUT Reading Along

I’ve read my manuscripts out loud to myself before and expounded on the benefits of it. After a commenter on my last post about it suggested I have my computer read it to me instead of doing it myself, I even tried that. It’s amazing how listening to the robotic text-to-speech program on my Mac highlights turns of phrases you’d think it would miss. So thanks for the tip!

Whenever I’ve done this before, I’ve always read along while listening. This time, I set the computer to read and averted my eyes from the screen. I have to admit, it was a unique form of torture for me. I can’t listen to talk radio without getting sleepy, so I had to keep that in mind when my own words–which I was listening to for the express purpose of ascertaining whether they’re ready for agents–made my eyes droopy. I tried all manner of drinks (ice water, coffee, soda), sugar (candy, Girl Scout cookies), and other snacks. I twirled in my chair; stared at my imitation Renoir dancer, pictures of my kids, or out the window; and generally drove myself batty to stay awake.

What’s my point with all of this? I needed to hear the words without seeing them. I absolutely caught nuances I wouldn’t have if I’d been reading along because it’s too easy to breeze past them with my eyes. I’ve been over them so many times they’re burned in my brain. I’m pretty sure listening triggers something different than seeing. Of course, I could be completely crazy on that :). Anyway, just a quick tip to consider when you’re revising.

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About Michelle I. Mason

I'm a full-time writer, focusing mainly on middle grade and young adult fiction with some freelance PR writing and editing on the side. I'm also a wife, mom, Christian, violinist, avid reader and St. Louis Cardinals fan. And I watch way too much TV.
This entry was posted in Quick Tip, Revising, Writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Quick Tip: Listen to Your Manuscript WITHOUT Reading Along

  1. Rebecca says:

    I’ve never tried this before.Thanks for the tip!

  2. Brittany says:

    Great idea. I read my manuscript aloud myself sometimes, but I haven’t tried having a reader do it for me yet. This is great advice for when I do so. Thanks!

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