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Text Aloud

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Old 06-30-2018, 12:06 PM
spshane (Offline)
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Default Text Aloud


Whenever I write something that needs to be polished, which isn't very often, I copy the text and past it into a Text Aloud program. The one I use is called Natural Reader, but there are dozens of programs to choose from (some free, some paid). These programs play your text back to you as spoken speech; in other words, it reads it aloud.

Having the program read the text aloud for me gives my ear an opportunity to catch what my eyes may have missed. You may have heard me quote Mark Twain on this before, but there's not a writer on the planet who can read is own work as it is on the paper. You may think you're reading it, but what you're really doing is reading what's in your head. For example, if I meant to write, "The eager student ran into the school" but really wrote "The eager student ran the school" there's a really good chance that my mind is going to stick the "into" back where it belongs without ever noting that it's missing. Let's just call that "writer's amnesia". When I use a Text Aloud program, I'm listening to it instead. It uses a different part of the brain. Most of the time, I'll hear the missing or misplaced word.

Text Aloud programs help in other areas too. For example, if you struggle with dialog, it will help you to hear the words spoken. Sometimes, dialog looks wonderful on paper, but when you listen to it, you'll throw something across the room. "Mother of God, man! This dialog's shit!" When you hear it, you'll know it needs to be fixed.

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