I got a little behind and skipped a few weeks. Sorry! For once I have the best excuse ever. I’ve been writing! I’ve also been doing critiques. During the last two critique group meetings a very important tip came up. Reading aloud. Have you ever read through a scene and known something was off, but couldn’t quite put your finger on it? Try reading it aloud to yourself and/or having someone else read it to you.
You could revise your work many times and still have something that comes across awkwardly. Speaking the words could help you catch this. Even worse, a lot of writers rely on spell check, which could let a word you didn’t intend get through.
For me it works best when I print the piece out. Not only does that make me see it differently but then I can hand it to my husband/kid/whoever to follow-up. Also, I have an easier time seeing mistakes on paper. I call it red pen syndrome. If I have the red pen out, I will find mistakes that I missed looking at a screen.
Another use for using this method is to make sure you’re writing to the correct audience. The story I’ve been bringing to be critiqued is middle grade, which is not my normal genre. I keep unintentionally slipping into word and phrase usage that kids either will not understand or don’t use. Someone mentioned I should try reading aloud. I haven’t been with this story, shame on me! If I had, I would have had an easier time noticing that. That will teach me to forget my own advice.
Try it out and see if it helps you. Have you already been doing this? If so, does it work for you?