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My Two Cents on Listening to Your Manuscript

Hello there my lovelies, and Happy Sunday! Today's blog post is going to be quick and dirty, because as I lay here, exhausted and listening to my husband saw logs, I realize, I don't have a ton of insight to share this week, so I'll make it quick. This week I'm giving you My Two Cents on Listening to Your Manuscript.

Okay, I know this sounds like I'm trying to say your manuscript might be talking to you, and you should listen to where it wants to go. Quite frankly, that's not a terrible decision. Some of my best work has come when my characters told me what they wanted to do rather than my trying to make it up. But, I digress, because that's not exactly what I mean. I'm talking about actually listening to your manuscript, like…with headphones.

I'm pretty sure I've talked about this before, but I went through my blog archive looking for the post, and I couldn't find it. So, if I have, I'm sorry, and if not, here goes.

Have you ever heard the advice that you should read your writing out loud to yourself? Unless you're a new writer, I'm sure you have. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've actually given that advice. It's a really common tip, and one of the most helpful ones for self editing anyone could share.

But, just like when you read your work to yourself internally, because you're the author, your mind is inevitably going to correct the words to what you meant them to be when you read it aloud too. Plus, if you're anything like me, early drafts are forever long and that can take a toll on your throat, and voice.

So my suggestion today, is having someone else read it to you. No, I don't mean hold your spouse hostage and make them read it to you (although there's probably a good story in there somewhere). I mean, because technology is so great, use a program to read it aloud to you. I've found an app that I love, it's called NATURAL READER. It's AI, so it uses bot voices but they have some pretty good ones that don't sound too robotic if you're willing to pay the couple bucks a month for the premium membership. I also know WORD has a read-aloud function, though personally I can't listen to the voices on there.

The point is, when you have your manuscript read to you, it's so much easier to hear phrases that don't flow well, misused words and even sometimes punctuation errors. The app I use halts at commas and periods. So it's easy to hear when two sentences suddenly become one. It's also easy to hear when readers are going to get tripped up on wording, because sometimes the bots sort of do. And, you can usually tell when what you meant to say wasn't exactly what you said. Plus, if you read along while listening, you can fix things as you go.

I've sent The Cupcake Cowboy to my reader a whopping 218 times. I know because it counts every time the same file name gets sent. Although, I know I haven't actually listened all the way through that many times. Often, when I hear a wonky scene, or something that needs to be re-written, I make corrections and send it again to hear if what I did fixed it or made it worse. If I had to guess, I'd say I've listened all-the-way through at least a quarter of that many times (so like 50-ish times ). I have to say, had I not done that, I think my editor would've had a lot more work to do.

Now, I'm not suggesting that you use this technology to replace an editor, because nobody or nothing can replace a truly experienced, unbiased second (or third or fourth) eye on your manuscript. But, this can be a way to get some valuable self-editing done, that may not otherwise be picked out by simply reading.

Plus, I like putting a voice to the first-person POV of my characters (especially the growly male versions) so I can tell if its coming off the way I intend it to. I found an Irish voice on Natural Reader, and if I ever succeed at making an audiobook out of Irish Whiskey (shameless self-promotion) the voice actor will need to sound a lot like the AI Irish guy, because he portrayed Jameson just right! 😂

So that's it folks! I told you it would be quick! That's My Two Cents on Listening to your Manuscript, and the short explanation for why I always do it. Reading alone isn't going to catch all the mistakes. And neither is listening to it. But it can help you put yourself in the reader’s perspective. and get you one step closer to a finished product, and isn't that what we're all trying to do?

Also, don't forget, ARC signups are now open, so sign up now to secure your chance to get an advanced copy of The Cupcake Cowboy.

Happy Sunday my friends! I hope you have a fabulous week!


-Rose Rayne Rivers

Comment below and tell me of you listen to/read your writing aloud.

Also, let me know if you have any topics you want me to cover in the upcoming weeks!


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