Monday, October 24, 2005

Listening to the Novel

Before I can turn the novel over to first readers, I like to make several passes through the text to catch errors. One of my regular methods is to convert the novel into spoken text and listen to it. Lots of simple errors can be caught this way. Reading a novel can be done in a couple of hours, normally, but listening to the same story takes a lot longer. Eight hours this time.

So, at a four times slower pace, omitted and doubled words, simple typos, and awkward word use are very clear. Reading them silently, these kinds of things are just skipped over. They're invisible.

I use the Mac utility, 'Books2Burn' and convert a saved RTF version of the manuscript into a collection of AIFF sound files -- one per chapter. Then I shrink them using iTunes and play them in the background while I read the text in Word.

The only problem is that it does take a while to get it all done.

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