Editor’s Tricks

I have a trick for editing flow and finding typos. It’s guaranteed to help you see things about your story you didn’t see before. Want to know what it is?

It’s reading aloud.

Yeah. Is your mind blown? No? It’s okay.

Reading your work aloud can bring attention to how a sentence sounds. Which, I know, doesn’t make sense since a story written, right? Wrong. When we read, we’re reading silently to ourselves. When sentences are clunky, they feel clunky. They read clunky. They sound clunky.

When we read sentences out loud we can feel the rhythm they have. That’s how to find awkward sentences, too, and super awkward words, like “cathartically” or “chunkily.” Those pesky adverbs with more than three syllables should be avoided because they are clunky and awkward to say.

Don’t believe me? Go see for yourself. Find a nice, quiet spot somewhere where your reading aloud won’t bother your fellows, be it a study room in the library, your basement, your backyard, the park; it doesn’t matter where as long as you’re comfortable enough to listen to yourself speak.

If you don’t want to read it yourself, ask a friend. Offer them food or booze in exchange for reading your manuscript to you. This way you can hear the story and feel how the sentences interlock and lace together. You can hear the kinks in thought and flow.

Do you have a trick for editing?

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