Optimism is NOT Arrogance

Arrogance is the belief that you are BETTER than others. Optimism is the belief that you have the same CHANCE as others. We all have the chance to achieve our dreams. Don't ever let anyone tell you differently.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Read it outloud!!

Final phase of editing before releasing it to the public in book form, and this, my friends, is the single most important part.  Read your entire book out loud.  Pretend you're making an audio book.  Do voices if you want.  Mumble on the bus to work like I did for two weeks straight.  It's ok.  It's winter.  Throw on a tattered hoodie and forget to shower and people just think you're a crazy person.

Why is it so important?

Because our brilliant mind can auto-translate and buzz over misspelled words without us even knowing it.  Reading your book isn't good enough, because the mind works too well and efficiently:  you need to slow yourself down, and reading out loud does that.  It forces you to go line by line.

Take, for example, this little beauty I picked up in my own book after reading it to myself, oh, seven or eight times:
I pulled Bill back a bit.  “What the hell are you doing?”
“Giving you a chance,” Bill said.
“Yeah, but this isn’t really a ‘giving you a chance’ kinda moment.  This is serious stuff.”
“Do you honestly think there’s anything out there you can’t handle?  Worse than the lake?  Worse than what you told me about in Pittsburgh?  You’ve seen the worst nature has to offer, and you’re still here.  Anyone who can cover the ground you’ve covered, keeping his team intact, is ok with me.”
I stood there, frozen and confused.  Me?   I looked around the room.  Ashley didn’t smile, she just put her two pistols into her jeans.  “He’s right,” she said.
Louie looked down at his shoes.  “I don’t want to go with anyone else.”
Tommy hoisted his sniper rifled on his shoulder and gave me a nod. 
The general shook his head.  “Not these three.  Bill - for chrissakes, they’re just kids.”
“Not anymore sir.  They stopped being kids a long time ago.”
No argument from anyone.  The room grew quiet.  “Fine.  Bill, you’re in charge, Dawson’s second in command.  Get those people organized and get ‘em ready.  Let’s move.”

Did you catch it?  Don't feel bad if you didn't, like I said I buzzed over it seven or eight times.  Spell check accepted it because it's a real word (although it doesn't make any sense in context), and my mind saw it and instantly dismissed it because it knew what it should've said.

If you read it out loud, you go line by line.  Slowly.  And then you catch it:

Tommy hoisted his sniper rifled on his shoulder and gave me a nod. 

RIfled.  A d.  One simple letter that doesn't belong. 

There were plenty of other examples that I caught by reading the book out loud.  It does take time, it slows you down to a crawl and burns inside your "get this thing out as quickly as you can" center, but it's well worth it.  Trust me.

So read it out loud, and WRITE ON!

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