Researching for two new books I am working on (a PB and a YA), starting a new job outside of home, and taking summer writing classes have kept me away from creating any new entries for this webpage. However, with this flurry of old and new activity my webpage theme ‘IT’S ALL ABOUT THE WORDS’ resonates new writing processes which I am applying to my writing.
My largest take away from everything these past few months is that while writing or revising or editing, is to read it out loud.
This I have failed to do lately as my favorite read aloud buddy and beloved dog, Brittie (she was always home with me while my daughters were away at college and hubby was at work) passed away two years ago. I read picture books to her and from her reaction I could tell if she liked the story or not. Interested in what I am reading.
Ears perked up, eyes bright, meant she was listening and liked the sound of my voice. Ears drooping, eyes averted meant she was bored. From her reactions, I learned to an extent to gauge my own while reading to her. Did I agree with her? Usually, yes. Why? I realized if I could bring out a positive reaction from her as I read, then the context of the book was easy for me to bring out positive emotion while reading.
Some of her favorites:
On the other end of the spectrum, if my reading out loud bored her, I reread the book again, aloud, and if she had the same reaction I realized the book lacked something and I studied it to figure out what I thought it lacked.
I did the same thing with my stories. I read them to her and gauged her reaction. Quite a few she was bored with. Even in the several revision stage readings she was bored with some and I knew those needed extra special work. When I could get a positive reaction from her, I knew I was on the right track.
After Brittie passed, I relied solely on my family: two college daughters, when they were home and my husband, to listen. But that was sporadic and none of them have the same reaction abilities to gauge as Brittie did.
Since both of my daughters recently left the nest permanently to pursue their own dream careers, I stopped reading aloud altogether.
Until now. What I was missing while reading aloud to my dog or my family is that I failed to listen while I read. Listening while reading aloud makes a huge difference!
Now, I no longer feel lost but engaged with my read aloud ability for when my books become published and am booked for story time with children. I remember how I felt as I read to Brittie and my responses to her. Now I will do what she did and LISTEN to the words as I read them aloud. If I do not give that childhood sense of wonder, then I have a lot more work to do. If I do get it, I am on the right track.
photo credit: slideserve.com
Good luck with your writing and if you don’t have a read aloud buddy or crew, you still have yourself which is important in the way of listening.