Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Voice It!

I've got a double entendre title today, so THERE! HA!

Okay, so maybe I'm trying to make it more exciting than it is... the themes have very little to do with each other, but both can be termed that way, so I thought it was fitting for V.


Voicing it: A Case For Reading Out Loud

So, I got feedback from my first (well, second, actually) readers recently, and one that I got Monday suggested some of my dialog might benefit from reading out loud... actually, I don't think she said THAT exactly, so much that some of it was sort of bland, and I'd just SEEN a suggestion for reading aloud and I put the two together... or something like that. My memory is a chaotic convoluted place, but somehow the idea was planted.

So I've been walking to and from work reading my MS out loud. You heard me. I am WALKING. And Reading. Out loud. Now you may laugh, but do you know what I found that very first stretch of sidewalk? My MC opened a door, and two paragraphs later a different character opened the same one FOR her (hell, both of them THREW the doors open *frowns*)

I've also caught a couple typos that even my super-beta missed, and have done a couple word changes.

And yes, because I know you're wondering, I have a pen in my hand and also write edits while I walk. Did I mention it is dark when I walk to work, so I hurry between streetlights, because it is only there where I can really see?

Certifiable. I'm aware.

My Point, HA! Is that this reading it out loud thing REALLY works! I strongly recommend it when you get to late rounds of polishing!


Voicing it: Political Season

There are a WHOLE LOT of people out there expressing a WHOLE LOT of opinions right now. And so I am going to make all of you a recommendation. Different people approach it very differently, and I think we should perhaps be 'Defensive Readers'. Know how as a driver there are dare devils, super-competents, safe, but cautious, dangerous... People are like that about their politics. And what I am suggesting to YOU is KNOW what you like.

Dare Devils: Some people LOVE a debate. They don't care if it gets nasty—they just like to argue their opinion. They thrive on it. They want the argument. On the road, these people should go to a race track so they only hurt other like people. I periodically like such a debate, but I want one with... you know... helmets and safety harnesses (aka: rules of conduct). I am happy to debate someone with different politics in a friendly, well-moderated environment. Arleebird has thrown out some topics that I am in the minority on, and I express myself, and it is usually relatively friendly debate. I know myself well enough though, to only go into such a debate when I'm in a MOOD to deal with it. And I NEVER dive in if it looks too nasty. I'm just not interested in the mudslinging.

Competent Roadsters: These folks are driving passionately but not really looking for a fight—however there are occasionally dangerous others, that because they are on the busy roads, driving defensively, will get rammed. I watch NotHannah speak from the heart, passionately and knowledgeably (probably helps that I usually agree with her... okay... so far as I know ALWAYS agree), but I've seen hit and run disasters blast her (usually on Facebook). Lisa is another great one--I think these Georgia liberals have to learn to be articulate because they are surrounded... I always try to lend support if I see it and know about the topic, but you go on the busy roads, it is just gunna happen sometimes...

Cautious Drivers: These people avoid the debates at all costs. They are not interested in politics and don't want to get caught in the traffic. They still are subjected to the run of the mill stuff we all get (ads, facebook messages) but they refuse to engage, not clicking any links or commenting on any statuses that are political. They still might get sideswiped, but the chances are lower.

I tend to change modes, depending on where I am. I don't like any meanness, but I like a good debate, given the right mood. However, in the places I KNOW people, I am very aware that many lifetime friends have different politics, so I try to gauge how calm and rational they can be in debate... there are few topics I will insert in someone elses' conversation. I DO post things that really hit home, but usually humorous, and I try not to be too inflammatory—at least on Facebook. Here I rarely hit anything... but on other people's blogs, I do on occasion.

So get out there and happy debating! And don't be afraid to express your opinions. But be careful to only GO the places you can handle, and WATCH for those timid types who are maybe in over their head—be nice to them. Anybody being a jerk on the other hand? Have attem!

31 comments:

Al said...

Hey If you weren't certifiable you wouldn't have a great story to blog about!

Ted Cross said...

I stopped even trying to follow political stuff on the web. It was making me like my fellow Americans less and less.

Boonie S said...

I mentioned your reading out loud suggestion to Mrs S. She told me that I'm not allowed to do it - so back to the drawing board I guess. but it was a nice idea. Thanks.

All the best, Boonie

Old Kitty said...

I can't debate reasonably to save my life! I get so passionate that my thoughts run away and far ahead of my vocal chords I start stumbling and talking dribble!! LOL!!

I guess that's why I prefer writing - I am more measured and calm and able to express myself in a more intelligent way!

Although I would go NAKED with you all the way!!! :-)

Take care
x

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Lately, the political debate has been coming into my house! Lots of political robocalling here. :)

Good idea about reading out loud! I think I may do some of that today to shake it up a little.

Hart Johnson said...

Al- *snort* Thank you! I think...

Ted-that is me,too. I think people who read widely, travel, or are highly educated have that in common. It's embarrassing.

Boonie--you could do it while you walk like I do!

Jenny-that is me, too--I can't articulate out loud in the same way because I can't sychronize my brain and words. Writing is definitely better.

Elizabeth--is 8th grade the government year? Seems maybe it is--my daughter brought home a lot of politics that year. At our HOUSE I express my opinions, and my hubby expresses opinions far right of what he really thinks (he is basically libertarian, in reality) just to needle me.

M.J. Nicholls said...

Debate should be banned on the internet. It's always awful.

Jenny Beattie said...

I'm not a political animal and I avoid debates at all costs... However if it was a debate about a book - then I'm less reserved and will get right on in there.

Simon C. Larter said...

My general opinion that most national politics is a corrupted, staggeringly wasteful process far, far removed from the needs of the intelligent, voting populace doesn't lend itself well to congenial debate. I usually just say I don't pay attention to politics when someone starts talking bout 'em. It might be a lie, but it's a convenient one, so I'll take the additional time in Purgatory for it and smile. :D

Teresa aka JW said...

Reading it out loud is the best!

Politics: There's a lot of dirt talk this time here in MO and it's annoying.

Hart Johnson said...

Mark-no it isn't.

Jenny--a lot of people like you. I used to dive in a lot more, but I've learned people are pretty impossible to change, so there hardly seems to be a point.

Simon-I think the little white liars get the ring of hell next to the lustful, so you're probably alright. I don't claim to not attend, but I WILL say, 'while I have opinions, this isn't the place to talk about them'.

Teresa-that was what brought on the topic--there are times it is just so darned unavoidable.

Mary said...

I've been reading my work aloud since junior high. Usually I do it in a lit area, I've never tried it on a dark street while walking. You crack me up.

Dawn said...

Wow. Now that's what I call multi-tasking!

Lisa said...

Last year, I attended a reading by the Georgia author Terry Kay and he suggested reading aloud. So I did. And wow. It is a huge help.

Thanks for the link. I restarted writing by blogging about politics, but you nailed me. I do not like mudslinging. If I can personalize an issue, I stay away from it because I don't want to devote the time it would take to research all those policies in order to write intelligently about them.

People on both ends of the spectrum can be shrill and ugly. I'm a Libra and a Middle Child. I'm much more comfortable trying to at least tone down the vitriol so maybe we can hear each other. I can't help myself.

Thank you for the link!

Lisa said...

I should have read my comment aloud. I meant to say if I can't personalize an issue. Doh!

Carol Kilgore said...

Totally agree with you about reading aloud. It's the next-to-last thing I do, the last being to make the edits from the out-loud reading.

Another week of the political circus. I voted early.

Hart Johnson said...

Mary-I remember HEARING the out loud thing a long time ago, but I have a tiny house and a day job and so have never had alone time--not sure why I am embarrassed when it is just my family, but there you have it... better to do walking among strangers.

Dawn-yeah, not bad for a person with tunnel vision *snort*

Lisa-that is a great way to keep it that way--to personalize, but that seems to also open YOU up to personal attacks, yes? Or are people relatively respectful because they would have to be personal to disagree?

Carol-that is the order I will end up with, too... seems a good idea--I am slow to believe these recommendations though...

Shaharizan Perez said...

I think if I tried reading aloud while talking and editing, I would fall flat on my face.

*totally accident prone*

I suppose I am the cautious one who doesn't get into debates and doesn't really like politics because of all the B.S. involved. I do agree that Facebook and whatnot is not the forum for an argument. It is very easy to misinterpret someone's tone in print. Face to face would be more ideal.

Helena said...

Playwrights read their stuff aloud all the time, but usually in private. Or they listen to actors rehearse the lines to learn what works and what doesn't. But the great thing about reading aloud as you walk along in the dark is that you probably look batshit crazy, which means bad guys will leave you alone.

Andrew Green said...

I've noticed that it takes a lot longer to finish something when I'm reading out loud....
It also seems to drain my energy. Is that weird?

Colene Murphy said...

Will def. have to try reading aloud! Thanks

And I think you deserve some kind of medal for being able to read/walk/edit all in the dark on the way to work. WOW

Ann said...

I love your take on politics. I just loathe all the adverts at the moment. Too much back stabbing. Hate it.

I agree with reading your work out loud. You really catch the flaws and lack of rhythm that way. You must have super duper x-ray eyes to read whilst walking in the dark. Do you ever trip over yourself? Just asking, because if it was me, I most certainly would end up flat on the cement. Lol

J.L. Stratton said...

Love your blog. You always have something interesting to talk about.

I know what you mean about reading aloud. I recently read my work aloud (as much as I hate the sound of my own narrative voice) and found that I described two of my characters almost exactly the same. They both ended up with the same hair color and eye color. I know one would think that something like this should be found upon reading but I tend to scatter my descriptions in pieces throughout the story and couldn't see it until I heard it.

I wish I could find a beta reader or two. I think I might have one now but haven't really heard much back from them since giving them a copy of the manuscript draft. It's so hard to find others to beta your work.

We've been reduced to screening our calls at the house and just deleting the messages each night. I like your political personality descriptions. I think that I am a dare-devil. Sometimes I'll argue a point into the ground even after I've been proven wrong. Of course I suffer from double jeopardy because my wife is the same way. She still brings up unfinished arguments from more than twenty years ago. Sometimes I think she just drags these back up so she can be proven right-again.

Hart Johnson said...

Chary-yeah--FB can be really bad. And I don't think I'd heard you were accident prone--how is that possible? I know it about Leanne, but i don't think you'd confessed it!

Helena-Oh, they already thought I was nuts, even before I added the pen and the out loud part (the walking and reading in the dark habit is about a decade old) But yes... no one bugs me... then again, I live in a place where not much happens and then something WACKO happens (remember the guy with the whip?)

Andrew-MUCH longer out loud... silently I can get about 50 pages a day read walking to and from work (30-40 if a lot of edits)--out loud it is running more like 20-25.

Colene-I'd LOVE a medal! (I like shiny things)

Ann-yeah the negative ads make me nuts. I don't watch much TV anyway, but totally avoiding it now. And I HAVE tripped, though usually because there is something out of the ordinary in my way. It's rare though, and worth the trade off. I far more frequently will get a low-hanging branch in my face--happens after a big rain when they are drooping and they soak me.

JL-thank you so much! I would look for a COUPLE critiquie partners. The one I just got back I had a good return on because it is on deadline and it will be the first 'published' among my writer's group, but normally I plan on hearing back from half or fewer of the people I ask. I think people WANT TO, but life gets in the way.

And yeah, we never answer our phone unless we recognize the name--no need to listen to THAT!

Cold As Heaven said...

I think it's very interesting to follow American politics (and British and French and German and Italian, not the least) in the news. Usually I end up with a clear opinion of what I would voted if I could >:)

Cold As Heaven

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

And now it is your turn to admit to mistakes! I feel better...

Carolyn Abiad said...

I live for double entendre! Reading out loud feels weird at first, but I've caught plenty of mistakes that way. Most days you can find me mumbling here at my desk.

Be careful you don't fall into a man hole on your way to work. Wait, you might actually try that...

Hart Johnson said...

CaH--that must be a Norwegian thing--mari can tell me stuff about all sorts of places. I'm fascinated by people who watch tons of places.

Alex-I would love to out myself more, but my memory is very short. I will have to look through some early drafts and check.

Carolyn-I love double entendres too--they're my favorite! I actually have a fear of holes--I've twisted ankles with small ones, so a big one will occasionally give me a panic flash...

gae polisner said...

I always read aloud and swear by it. In fact, what I need to remember sometimes is that it may sound different when I DONT read aloud and I have to take that into consideration too. Or that someone else's voice will hear it differently than how i read it aloud.

But all in all, I dont write a single ms without at some point hearing how every word and dialogue sounds out in the air. :)

Lisa said...

You asked if the way I write about politics opens me up to personal attacks. The truth is yes. But I've also noticed that since I don't employ name calling (much) and pick on myself first people aren't as likely to be harsh.

Hart Johnson said...

Gae-good reminder on different people's voices--it's funny, my most careful first reader is from Boston, and there are just some little things (the small word in a phrase) that she and I do differently because of her New England and my West Coast upbringing.

Lisa-I think that is true--that ADMITTING (in a funny way) stuff does disarm others. I really love your political stuff.