Last night I attended our local screenwriters group’s meeting. At the meetings we table read five to six pages of scripts that a member brings in. A table read is where different members play the part of characters as the script is read out loud.
Reading one script (there were three scripts we read last night) it was obvious that the writer had not read the script out loud. If he had he would have caught a couple of errors and the script would have read much smoother.
Granted it is hard to read your own writing out loud. You got to find someplace where you can do it and no one will hear you.
It feels silly and embarrassing to do. Indescribably embarrassing to have someone finds you doing it.
I do it. I’m wrapping up a book and getting it ready to send it to an editor. I’ve read the book out loud twice. Then a friend asked me to help set up the equipment for a podcast. I hadn’t done anything like that in years. So I dug out the microphones, cables, miscellaneous stuff and set it up. I did a test recording to insure everything works. I had the draft of my book next to the computer so I read a couple of pages from my book. Or I tried to read a couple of pages of my book. I would read a sentence and have to stop to finish marking up the sentence with corrections to make it read better, sound better, smoother.
I was reading pages from the back of the book. I had read those pages out loud and fixed them twice before. Now I need to read the book again out loud, this time reading into a microphone. I’m in the middle of writing another book. I don’t have time for this. Still, one thing you learn, if your going to be good is; don’t fix it in post.
Post means post production, it comes from the screen writing world, but applies to photography, writing, and life in general. Don’t depend on the editor to fix it. Don’t depend on technology to fix it. Don’t depend on your writing group to fix it. Don’t wait until later to fix it. Do it right the first time.
You’re going to have enough fixing to do anyway.
So hang a do not disturb sigh on the bedroom door. Take your manuscript and a folding chair into the closet. Close the closet door and read the manuscript out loud into a microphone while recording it on your computer. The microphone and recording will add the little bit that will bring out errors you would gloss over if you just read it out loud and not record it.
Stay strong, write on. Professor Hyram Voltage