Sunday, 2 March 2014

The Benefits Of Reading Aloud When Reviewing / Editing

I have been reading some of my early scenes in my first novel. I have hardly completed chapter one and already I am becoming twitchy about what I have written. Most of my writing has been of a technical nature and as you might imagine, although the mechanisms I go through are the same, the words and sentence structures are very different. It really makes me nervous.

One thing I have found which helps is to read the text aloud. This obviously slows down the reviewing process but also helps to spot those awkward structures which can be glossed over when reading to yourself.

A feature which I have found valuable in the yWriter5 software is the built-in speech engine feature, as I mentioned in my lasr post. You can set the software to read back each scene at a speed determined by yourself. There are many foibles,we have all heard the automatic repeat of a number we have entered into a telephone, maybe for paying a bill or on-line-banking. But apart from a few strange pronunciations, there are some distinct areas where the machine is just terrible. For example in this case, the speech engine hurries quickly over the word "and". However I am getting use to it like a good friend - maybe I need to get out more?

But it does make me think about some of the sentances I have written, and I have altered quite a few. Having a close look at something can help.

But enough of that, I seem to be repeating myself so will call a halt to that discussion. I include here another first (very rough) draft describing how the alter ego (created by a magical accident of the protagonist (Eadwyne) hides within the castle.

FEAR hides withing the Castle

The pathetic creature crept deeper into the shadows and through the castle door to escape the crowds on the parade ground. he was aware that he needde to hide and get away from what was happening on the parade ground but he did not know why. In fact he had no memory at all of events before he was startled to find himself against the wall of the castle. the more he thought, the harder he questioned himself, the less he realised he knew. Except that for now he simply had to hide and take stock.

Nobody seemed to have noticed him, he had escaped successfullly but what now? There was much activity inside the castle, servants were teeming around seeming to have much to do and little time to do it. There was a staircase to a lower level on his right, not too far away. If he could make it to there he might find things a little quieter downstairs. The level directly entered from the parade ground was in fact the top level, and consisted mainly of the royal apartments and staterooms. The stairway led down to the castle's living quarters and official rooms, but not knowing this the fugitive descended. Slowly and carefully he emerged on the third level and again found many people runnung around. He was not aware of the importance of this day or of Eadwyne's imminent departure.

Before long he was spotted, in his dirty and singed clothing he looked out of place amid the scurrying workers. He was called over by a page to explain himself, "who are you ? What are you doing, don't you have work to do?"

He answered slowly, "I .... fe...fe...fear ...". His first words.

"What, I have no time for this, get back to the kitchens below!"

A military officer came over and asked the page, "Who was that?"

"I am not certain sir, He called himself something which sounded llike Fear, peculiar name really."

Fear, for that became his name, scuttled back to the the stairs and continued on down. At the next level he found the kitchens and they were full of servants busily going about their alloted tasks. He did not want to risk being seen again and so carried on down, eventually reaching the cellars. Finally a place of refuge, a hideaway; a place of safety where he could gather his wits and decide his next move.

By the way, I have deliberately chose to write the name in capitals. In later chapters this will become more evident

1 comment:

  1. Good job, John. I look forward to reading your updates. I am happy you are a part of our group.