I’m doing what I hope and believe will be the final read on my book before querying agents. Reading the entire thing aloud. Word for word.
This is no new thing, of course, and it’s commonly advised for a reason. You simply catch things you’d never notice with a silent read-through. I’ve been a little sick for the last week and so I’m in there with the manuscript on a music stand, reading with a stuffy nose and God knows what draining down the back of my throat.
The utility of the exercise is to smooth over the prose and get the flow right, which it is certainly doing. But I’m recording it as well so I can see how it sounds on playback.
While the book is actually reading pretty smoothly, I’m now in the full throes of self-doubt as a result of hearing my voice in the recording. I think it’s probably because I don’t have a great voice for this and I’m under the weather. Nevertheless, hearing it makes me respect those audiobook voice actors. Those guys certainly read the book a number of times and likely make notes about tone and situation so they get the sound right. Mine is a travesty, really. Sounds like someone who just learned how to read, but it’s serving its purpose.
Cliff’s Notes: read aloud; be prepared to hear own voice and hate yourself.