A good writer has to be a big reader. But I think a good writer also needs to get comfortable with the sound of their own voice. Yes, you need to start reading out loud. But why? I hear you whisper. I hear you (just). Writers, on the whole, are quiet folk (alright Oscar Wilde I’m not talking about you). But get the honey and lemon ready because here’s why your writing will benefit from a good talking to!
Get a feel for the rhythm
Rhythm doesn’t just have a place in music or poetry. All writing, fiction, and non-fiction benefits from having a certain beat to it. It’s part of its flow, bouncing, rolling, hitting, melting. Writing and reading your writing in you head you can’t always see if you’ve got this. Your thriller needs pacy, tense scenes, whilst your romance will want to be languid and seductive. Reading your work out loud lets you breathe that musicality into the words and bring them to life.
Hear the voices of your characters
You know your characters inside out, their backgrounds, what they look like, how they dress, the music they love – but have you heard them speak? By reading your character’s words out loud you’ll know whether the way they’re saying them is real. That they sound how they should, that the pauses and movements and sounds are all just as they should be.
Spot typos and missing words
After you’ve re-read your work for the twentieth time it can be easy to miss things. By reading out loud, reading what is there as opposed to what you *think* is there, you should be able to spot those typos and missing words.
Learn by reading other people’s work out loud
So you know the benefit of reading your own work – but what about reading other people’s? You get to know what works and what doesn’t. You get a sense of how an author structures their work to create an effective story. It’s a learning experience, just like when you were a kid. And if you tend to skim read normally (guilty as charged), you’ll pick up details you might otherwise miss. Just maybe skip reading Fifty Shades on your morning train commute.