Reading a draft out loud for the sake of tone.

I’m going to making some changes to this blog which necessitated holding off publishing for a few days. I intend on the change happening sometime this weekend. Between that and a schedule change at work I should resume posting on a more regular basis. My writing habits haven’t changed so I hope it isn’t too annoying that I had to publish so many posts in one day.

I’m writing this blog post on Tuesday but I’m not sure if this is the next post I’ll be publishing. I’ve been thinking about making a change which may necessitate me writing and publishing a different post first. Of course by the time I publish this one the situation will be resolved so a lot of what I’m saying here is irrelevant. I only wanted to include the information that I might be publishing out of order of when I write. There’s a lot of continuity nerds out there that keep track of such things. Granted, I’m probably the only one that’s keeping score on this particular blog but that’s enough for me to get this out of my system.

I finally got around to starting draft three of “The Gallery.” I really need to come up with a better name for that book. I found out that there’s another book with the same title which was somewhat prominent back in the forties. There’s nothing wrong with two books that have the same title if the title fits them but at the same time I don’t want the two to get confused (provided that mine ever gets published). Anyway, I only just started the new draft last night but I am finding that reading it out loud myself is working out very well. Before I thought that if I read it my own voice would distract me from paying attention to any corrections I would want to make. I’m not going to justify those feelings on the subject like I usually do; I know I have this nasty habit of trying to say something like “maybe I only thought that way because I was nervous” or something. In this case I can admit that I was simply wrong.

Reading it out loud with a film noir-ish delivery I’m able to not only catch mistakes but also make sure that I’m capturing the voice I want to be in the reader’s head. The entire book is not written in such a tone but I want to make sure the parts that are work. Hey, I might even decide to change my mind and “darken” the passages that need it in order to keep the whole thing consistent. Then again, maybe not. The scenes which feature “good” character Love Whitefield could be in a lighter tone while the scenes in which Natasha Kosomov is conspiring with her underworld cronies to steal Johnny Roach’s paint would retain the darker tone. I’ll have to see where things go as I read it out loud.

One thing I won’t do is record myself reading it and listening to that recording later. I’ll be paying too much attention to my delivery and not on the content. I remember making my own audio books when I was a kid of “Calvin & Hobbes” books. I doubt that anybody would care about legal issues there so I’ll go ahead and make it publicly known (although I think I recorded something else over all of those tapes). Back then I noticed that I didn’t retain the squeaky “little kid” voice for the entire time. I didn’t pay attention to the content that I was reading out loud. If I were to listen to that now I would probably wonder why I was so picky when I naturally had a little boy voice anyway as I was reading it.

The very first draft that I wrote years ago was to start getting the ideas down on paper. Then about a year or so ago I made up an outline that actually had a plot. With the second draft I focused on grammar, punctuation and the like. With the third draft I’m now focusing on tone. I’ve read of authors that really rewrite a lot of what they do. I welcome that possibility but I have to wonder if I’ll ever come to that with this one.


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