It's done. Written, revised, edited, rewritten, re-revised, re-edited, ripped apart and done again. It has been through readers, editors, fact checkers. Every chapter, paragraph, sentence, word. Every period, comma, question mark. It's ready to go-right?
There is still one more step (actually two) before I send this manuscript, dripping with blood and sweat, off to my final two mentors for the big check mark, thumbs up or whatever the typical 'ready to go' sign is they use. Reading the entire manuscript out loud.
Yes, I know, we've read our manuscripts a gazillion times, some of us could probably recite them in our sleep. So why read them out loud? Simple. When we read to ourselves, our brain has a way of 'fixing' things for us. We have learned to skim and skip and compensate for errors. When we are forced to voice each word, we are more aware of the content of the sentences and those errors that we thought couldn't possibly be there suddenly are glaring at us like wild beasts.
What ever could I find in my perfect manuscript? Rough spots, awkward sentence structure, things that seem unnatural, holes in scenes, unclear references, run-on or choppy sentences, repetitive words and phrases, just to name a few.
So here I am, preparing for the big read. I know I need to read slowly, otherwise my brain will do its thing and start compensating for errors. I am going to record it, so I want to read with inflection, make it interesting enough that I wouldn't mind listening to it myself, which I will do after it is done.
|Voices: Steven and Kayleigh|
|Another voice: Dillon, not the random Elvis|
As I said above, this is the second to the last step before I send the manuscript for my 'stamp of approval'. The last and final step is to send this book through one final reader. A professional reader, by my definition, as she reads an average of twenty books a week. She will be the one that tells me if she can 'see' my scenes happening, if the dialogue 'sounds' natural, if she can 'smell' the river. And she won't be distracted by the words in print--she can't be, because she is blind.
(And next week, you will meet her right here!)