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Editing tips for novelists


Passing on this tip, I realise that it’s not one I use as often as I should. For example, do I use it after this short article is complete?

Read it aloud

That is the start and the end of this simple tip.

When you have finished writing, read the words out – aloud. Don’t cheat yourself and read them in your head as the mind is wonderful at bridging the gap between sentences that don’t work and making them appear correct in your brain.

Try reading the next paragraph in your head:

I cnduo’t bvleiee taht I culod aulaclty uesdtannrd waht I was rdnaieg. Unisg the icndeblire pweor of the hmuan mnid, aocdcrnig to rseecrah at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mttaer in waht oderr the lterets in a wrod are, the olny irpoamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rhgit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whoutit a pboerlm. Tihs is bucseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey ltteer by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Aaznmig, huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghhuot slelinpg was ipmorantt! See if yuor fdreins can raed tihs too.

Yes, you are a genius. You can read the paragraph even with the most obvious mistakes. This is why you need to read aloud as this eliminates, or helps you clearly identify, the errors.

Going one step further and ensuring you use your hearing senses as well use software to read your writing. Often you can choose a nice voice or accent you would like to listen to.

Dragon from Nuance fits nicely on my computer and apart from it’s excellent speech to text element, it is with its text to speech that I achieve most satisfaction.

Reading aloud helps you to remove silly mistakes and sentences that just don’t quite sound right.

Many thanks to this website for the difficult reading example.

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