A Trick of the Trade

By Sara Hoffmann
Senior Editor

I thought I’d use my post today to reveal an editing secret I’ve discovered. (Well, OK … it’s not that much of a secret. I alluded to it once in this post already. And also, it wasn’t me who discovered it. A wise editor I worked with in the past shared it with me.) The “secret” is reading your texts aloud as you edit them.

Why is reading aloud so helpful? I think it’s because it gives you a sense of how a manuscript is flowing. If you stumble as you’re reading, that tells you something. The rhythm is off. Something’s unclear. The phrasing may be awkward.

Reading aloud particularly helps me when I’m stuck. Hearing a text aloud has an almost magical ability to get me unstuck. (Although, now that I’ve told you about this, I’m half afraid it’s not going to work anymore. We creative types tend to be a very superstitious lot.)


Reading aloud—it’s as beneficial now as it was in elementary school.

What helps you in your writing or editing work? Do you ever read your texts aloud? Do you have some other trick? Do share. I love to hear ideas from others who work with words.

(photo courtesy of: http://www.libraries.sa.gov.au/)

4 thoughts on “A Trick of the Trade

  1. Laurie S. Sutton

    That trick also helps when I'm proofreading. Reading aloud forces me to slow down and really look at the words.

  2. Janine

    My editing secret is to use the AutoCrit Editing Wizard. It finds TONS of problems that I've missed on numerous read-throughs.

    I love it and it saves me a lot of time.

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