Friday, 26 June 2009

Tried and tested top editing tip!

I've had success with an idea I came up with for editing, so I thought I'd pass it on.

Audio record yourself reading aloud your first draft and listen to it repeatedly in the car, on the way to work, or dashing around town (works better if it's just you in the car).

Seriously, this works! Hearing the story spoken aloud helps you assess plot consistency, whether the characters are likeable or realistic and also allows you to judge how your story may sound to a reader. I stumbled across this idea, through listening to the Radio 4 plays and book of the week items. Commuting is dead time to me, but it's also valuable alone time and a great opportunity to rehash ideas in my head.

Now for some techie options you might like to try: -

  • If your computer has the function, voice record yourself and burn it onto a CD that can be listened to in the car. Or put it onto MP3
  • Beg, steal or borrow (or buy from argos, circa £20-30) a dictation machine and turn it up loud!
  • Use the voice record function on your mobile and press play before setting off on your journey, or transfer it to your PC via USB and burn it onto disk.

If, like me, you have a long daily commute to a full time job and can only write in your precious spare time, it's worth a go.


  1. That's actually a really good idea. I think your mind goes into freefall slightly when commuting and if you're listening as a 'reader' you're far more likely to hone in on those plot-holes and pacing problems than just reading it back on the screen :o)

  2. Thank you Karen, those were exactly the words I was looking for!

    It's true, things do take on a new context or meaning when you read aloud. I was told to do this with my PhD writing and realised it worked quite well for fiction writing too.

  3. I was reading aloud to a friend from the first draft of my novel last night. It was amazing the number of times I stopped and said 'oh that bit doesn't make sense'.

  4. Great idea! Never in a million years would I have thought of that. Thanks, can't wait to give it a go. :)

  5. Good luck with it! and I'm glad you can all see the sense in it. Hearing it aloud is a good reality check, i say!