Yes. I’m working on some edits. I suppose everyone has a different way of approaching these things. When I’ve got time, I print out the darn thing, attack it with pens and post-it notes—and then re-type the entire manuscript into the computer, which helps me see the novel in an even fresher light.
When I don’t have time, like now, I do the next best thing: I read out loud.
Reading out loud may not seem all that different from reading to yourself—and sometimes it’s not—but let’s remember that storytelling originated as an oral art, and audiences then were likely as fickle as they are today. You are still speaking when you are writing—and you are still listening, when you are reading. There is no difference.
Us writers, we get close to our stories—sometimes too close. We occasionally benefit from distance. Reading out loud does that. It keeps you from skipping over sentences, words—prevents skimming, glossing, all those things that can lead to a shoddy edit. Reading out loud also helps you listen for style and tone, for the rhythm of a sentence. And if you stumble, if awkwardness ensues, then you know that you’ve hit a sore spot. There, revise.
Of course, this method can be a pain. Nor is it something I do consistently. When revising, it’s good to have a mixed bag of things that work for you. That, and revise in a place that’s comfortable and where you feel cheerful. Seriously. A good attitude works wonders when you’re ripping your work apart.
Here’s some links on editing:
Holly Lisle here and here