Sunday, December 13, 2009


Every time, well not every time because rarely does anything happen in absolutes, but more often than not when people call my house they ask if my dad is home. I used to say you mean my husband, and the caller would get all embarrassed, so lately I just answer, "Yes. Just a minute."

Sometimes they clue into the fact that I answered the phone and say to my husband, "That was your wife, wasn't it?"

I think my voice is deep, but apparently when I answer the phone I sound like my seven year old daughter.

This got me wondering, as things usually do. What does my voice sound like when it can only be read?

Can you tell what kind of person I am just by reading my blog. Do you think I'm witty, shy, outgoing, whiny, or snarky? (That question was rhetorical)

I have a hard time reading my work out loud because I'm not entirely fond of my voice, but I think it's a must.

First you discover things that you wouldn't normally notice by reading your work in your head. Echoes is a big one for me, or awkward sentences. I can tell when I haven't read something out loud because it doesn't flow the way I want it to.

Second, it's so important to show what kind of person your characters by using just your words that sometimes when you read out loud, you get a better sense of your characters.

How about you are there any other reasons you can think of for reading your words out loud?


Cammie said...

I think you have to be in just the right mood to read your work outloud. One time (when I was in a particularly foul mood) I tried it and almost burst into tears, the whole thing sounded so bad (my written words, more so than my slightly nasally voice.) However, on another attempt - one where I actually had an audience in a NY cafe! - it felt totally natural ... heady, even. So I guess, to answer your question the longest way possible, I'd say make sure you're up for a read-aloud, 'cause it definitely makes you view your writing in a new light, and stirs up emotion.

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Hey, Patti!

Growing up my brother and I sounded alike. That wasn't much fun. :0)

I have a tendency to leave out words or use the wrong words without realizing it... like if I'm looking for "tree", I'll use "three". Sometimes it's not even that basice. I've replaced words with ones that are linked only in my weird brain. It makes me scared for my beta readers. :0) Reading outloud helps me slow down enough to catch them!

Susan R. Mills said...

Reading out loud is so important. I catch all kinds of things that way. I hate the sound of my voice too, by the way.

Robyn Campbell said...

Reading out loud is vital. I need to readout loud (or have Microsoft Anna do it for me) because it helps me to see if my writing sounds like a MG'er or a YA. If it doesn't, I go in and fix it. Great post, Patti.

Mim said...

I do get the is your mom or dad home comment a lot. I guess I sound like a little kid when I talk.

I think that reading stuff aloud really helps you to find when rhythm and grammar is off. It is even better if you have someone else read it because sometimes you put in the words that should be there without thinking about it.

Carolyn V. said...

When I am with my critique group and they ask me to read outloud, I usually either read way too fast, or giggle through the piece. It's just better if they read for me. But I have noticed that I catch sentences that don't make sense.

You have a great voice. I love reading your blog. =)

Jody Hedlund said...

That is too funny that people ask for your Dad when you answer the phone. It really does show that we don't always have an objective view of how our own voices sound!

Jessica said...

Funky sentences is why I do it.

Okay, too funny! First, I didn't know you did this post on Voice, and now mine is up. LOL Must be on our minds.

Second, I would be the caller who thinks you're your kid. Heh. I was on with tech support earlier this week and guess what? Eek! I thought the person was a woman and he turned out to be a man. Even worse, he knew I thought he was a woman. SOOOOO embarrassing. You're very gracious to not throw your caller's ignorance in his face. LOL

T. Anne said...

Oh gosh I used to get that all the time! I must sound like a child (no surprise there;) Funny thing, I just read the first two chapters to my poor husband last night! I loved the sound of my MC's voice, but then we all think our babies are best, don't we?

Lisa and Laura said...

Laura reads everything out loud, but I don't always have the patience. I will read passages out loud that are giving me trouble though and that really seems to help.

And for the record, sometimes people come to my door and ask if my mom's home. Hilarious.

lotusgirl said...

Sometimes when I read out loud I am more in tune with what I'm reading. I tend to cry more easily if I'm reading out loud too. I wonder what that's all about.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I love to read aloud, but I get shy if it's my own work and people know it's mine. I like to read to my classes at school (the kids love to be read to) but I don't tell them it's my work. That is a great way for me to see what works and what doesn't.

Melissa said...

I've had people ask for my dad, too! I know my voice makes me sound like a kid. That's why I hate it.

Dawn Simon said...

People sometimes ask for my mom or dad, too. Yeesh. ;)

By echoes, do you mean use of the same words or sounds too close together? I catch that when I read aloud or put my chapter away for a while (sometimes just a day, sometimes for a few months) and then come back to it. I also catch repeated rhythms and awkward sentences.

giddymomof6 said...

Ooh! I'm so like you! I HAVE to read outloud to know that my story flows right. It's one my favorite secrets about writing a good book!

PS and for the record, I think your writing voice is fun!

Paul Greci said...

I read my work outloud to catch basic mistakes, to find where the voice lags, to see if I need to add or eliminate beats during a scene. I'm looking forward to trying microsoft Anne to see how that works.

I did a lot of reading outloud when I was a teacher. It was one the favorite parts of my job. It was fun, almost a performance.

But when I read my own work outloud I try to do it in a monotone way. The words have to stand on their own w/no one performing them.

Patti said...

So it sounds like you need to be in the mood to read, reading out loud really helps, and that I'm not alone in sounding like a child. Maybe it just means we're all still young at heart.

Kasie West said...

Reading out loud is good because I see where a sentence is convoluted or stops me up. It's even better if you can get someone else to read your story aloud to you because then you can see where it stops someone else up. Or you can hear the repetitiveness.

BTW, you come off as charming and friendly. (I know it was rhetorical, but I thought you should know)

JKB said...

I do the same thing, man.

We're all in this together. :-)

Amber Lynae said...

I know I benefit from reading aloud, but even more so from having someone else read my words aloud. That really shows me how thigs are coming across.

Abby Annis said...

I read out loud to to make sure it flows like I think it does, and to check for awkward phrasing. It's all so clear in my head. :)

I feel your pain on the phone issue. Strangers who show up on my doorstep ask me all the time if my mom is home. Sometimes they don't believe me when I tell them I'm the mom.

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