Record It, Don’t Just Read It

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I often hear the advice to read my stories aloud. Taking that advice two steps further, I record the story and listen to the recording,  a technique I discovered accidentally when recording a speech to memorize it.

I turned to Google looking for tricks to help me with the daunting task of memorizing a speech twenty minutes in length. There I found a technique of recording the speech and breaking up the recording into chunks roughly a minute in length. The subsequent step was to commit the chunks to memory sequentially.

While recording the speech, I found myself stumbling in places where the sentence construction was not correct. I read the whole speech through once making corrections on the paper. The next recording included those corrections.

When listening to the speech to break it up, I noticed paragraphs that didn’t make sense. It struck me that I caught different types of errors in listening to the speech than I had when reading it for the recording.

After a nervous, but successful speech, I realized this technique contained potential to improve my writing as well.

Try recording and listening to your work to see how both acts illuminate different problems.

The first step is to select a recording method. I used two free pieces of software:  Audacity for Windows and GarageBand for Macs. I also tried a USB flash drive recorder but found the poor sound quality distracting.

Steps in the process:

  1. Read the story aloud completely through making corrections to the draft
  2. Record the corrected version
  3. Listen to the recording
  4. Make corrections to the draft
  5. Repeat if desired

Edits: At 4th Street Fantasy 2017, a couple of other authors said they couldn’t listen to a recording they created because they didn’t like the sound of their voice.

An episode of Writing Excuses also talked about using text to speech for novels because reading a full length novel can be cumbersome.

If you don’t like the sound of your voice, or your work is too long, listening to text to speech conversions could fulfill the same purpose as listening to self-recorded stories.

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