Saturday, September 19, 2009

To Read Aloud or Not to Read Aloud?

"Think about cadence, about the natural rhythm of your words. Read your short short fiction aloud. It should flow effortlessly. It should sound pretty. If it doesn’t, ask yourself why."

That's from a nifty essay on writing very short fiction (VSF) by Roxane Gay.

About reading aloud: sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. There's no real method for me. Some stories feel like they need to be read out loud. (I used to read my stories to my cat, but he seemed a little bored.)

I haven't been doing it lately, but that's mostly because my writing has been minimal as of late.

Reading aloud can be very helpful for the reasons cited by Roxane. But on the other hand, I also worry about becoming too enamored with the way the words sound and somehow losing focus -- if that makes sense.

By the way, there are lots of other great essays at VIPs on vsf, a blog put together by Laura Ellen Scott.


Ethel Rohan said...

I'm in the read aloud camp. It's something I've always done, along with writing to my own internal rhythm. You raise a good point, though, and I think the key, at least for me, is to only read the work aloud when it feels "finished" -- it's for me the last step before I send my work out.

Andrew Roe said...

"...writing to my own internal rhythm."

Yep, I do that too. I'm always going over lines internally like that (perhaps a bit too much, which is one of the reasons I'm a "slow" writer).

When I do read aloud it's always the last step as well -- kind of like the final edit. And I read w/ a red pen in my hand, and it invariably gets used...

Laura Ellen Scott said...

thanks for promoting the blog, andrew! I read my longer stuff aloud because I can hear my self indulgence better than I can see it. The dogs hate it.