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Summerwriter
07-16-2007, 08:50 PM
Hi!
I must admit I do not know where else to talk about this, so I decided I say it here.
OK..here goes. My crits have told me: "You should read your work aloud." This far I have done it...maybe once and realized nothing. But today I noticed something. I was listening to a cassette book. I followed the story in my ears (it is Finnish one) and thought "why and how can character be that stupid?"
I do not know what that means...is is writer's fault or mine...but I think something has happened to me. I mean...in the past I have not realized anything like that. Of course I know my writing is full of holes and I should fill them, but I have not found any material to do that.
And then another book I listened...Some points of the plot were like "Ah, I knew it! I knew that would happen" . I know I am not writing the clearest English in the world right now but I admit this thing...whatever this found is....I am a bit confused before this...thing. Maybe I just realized my crits were right about that reading thing...but why doesn't it work when I read my own writing aloud? Do I know the falses too clearly or am I blind to something else?

Kate Thornton
07-16-2007, 08:52 PM
I think this happens to writers - you see the flaws in other works as you are learning to recognize the things that will make your work better.

It can be distracting now when I read or listen to written works...

Calla Lily
07-16-2007, 09:12 PM
Do you belong to a crit group? In mine, someone else always reads my WIP aloud. I hear lots of stuff I never noticed.

I hate hearing my own voice, esp on tape. It distracts me. People on AW have mentioned software that reads your stuff out loud. Maybe that would help?

Novelhistorian
07-16-2007, 09:17 PM
I've found that reading my stuff aloud helps most when I've come back to it after a week or two without seeing it at all. Then things leap out at me, because I've forgotten how the words go. If I read it aloud too soon after I've last revised it, the words seem, to my ears, to have their own justification, and I'm less quick to notice what doesn't work.

Everyone knows what it's like to cringe at the sound of our own words. Don't worry about that, and don't give up.

Summerwriter
07-16-2007, 10:11 PM
Do you belong to a crit group? In mine, someone else always reads my WIP aloud. I hear lots of stuff I never noticed.

No, I don't...I mean IRL. Online yes but IRL no.


I hate hearing my own voice, esp on tape. It distracts me. People on AW have mentioned software that reads your stuff out loud. Maybe that would help?

Hmm...I know there are some...talking heads at least. But they have their limits. And that program should work with this Vista thing, and there are rare such programs. I owe you one huge thanks, though.

Summerwriter
07-16-2007, 10:22 PM
I've found that reading my stuff aloud helps most when I've come back to it after a week or two without seeing it at all. Then things leap out at me, because I've forgotten how the words go. If I read it aloud too soon after I've last revised it, the words seem, to my ears, to have their own justification, and I'm less quick to notice what doesn't work.

That may be part of my problem. You see, I have the file on my computer. And whenever I want to write something, I know exactly where those files are...and what I'll see when I open the file.


Everyone knows what it's like to cringe at the sound of our own words. Don't worry about that, and don't give up.

At least I know it. I hate to hear my voice from tape. I have no idea why. I like recording, but I don't like listening to that same tape later. And no, I am not giving up, now that I have found this...treasure. Or isn't it a treasure that you can see in others' work the things working and the things not working? In my opinion it is.

Birol
07-16-2007, 10:40 PM
It can be both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is you're about to become a stronger, better writer. The curse is, it can be very difficult to learn to turn that voice off and just read for enjoyment.

Summerwriter
07-17-2007, 12:07 AM
It can be both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is you're about to become a stronger, better writer. The curse is, it can be very difficult to learn to turn that voice off and just read for enjoyment.

Oh dear...that sounds...nasty...especially before one learns to contol it. At the moment the only way to control it is to stop listening. Oh well...that is life, I guess.

Dominic
07-17-2007, 12:20 AM
SummerWriter,

I'm with you right now. I just finished Nancy Kress's book Beginnings, Middles, and Endings and now I feel like a walking advertisement for her book. Everything I have ever written is going through that wringer as well as everything I read. Sometimes it is very insightful. Other times it has been disappointing.

I imagine it will be like when I watched some of the seventies sitcoms I watched as a kid only to discover how horrible the acting in them was.

But I expect the result will be like Birol mentioned. We'll notice all these things now, integrate them into our own writing, and then move onto another problem area and become hypersensitive to that area then.

Summerwriter
07-17-2007, 12:31 AM
SummerWriter,

I'm with you right now. I just finished Nancy Kress's book Beginnings, Middles, and Endings and now I feel like a walking advertisement for her book. Everything I have ever written is going through that wringer as well as everything I read. Sometimes it is very insightful. Other times it has been disappointing.

Well...in my case it was a book read on tape...and I listened to that tape and the thoughts...just came. I never invited them...they just came to me. Naturally, without any kind of forcing or something.


I imagine it will be like when I watched some of the seventies sitcoms I watched as a kid only to discover how horrible the acting in them was.

I can't comment on that...I think I am not that far yet.


But I expect the result will be like Birol mentioned. We'll notice all these things now, integrate them into our own writing, and then move onto another problem area and become hypersensitive to that area then.

I do not know about that hypersensitivity....at lest not yet. But I know something has changed in me and in the way I listen to the tapes. When I read an article, I see all the punctuation errors and such, but that is all. That is all I can see, unless the sentence is really clumsy. Wish I could explain this better, but my English is on level 1 and I can't do that. But I trust you understand.

Memoirista
07-17-2007, 05:05 AM
"Awareness is all!"

I'm thinking in slogans today. This generality applies to knowing one's self, surviving in a hectic world, almost anything.

Awareness is wonderful and sometimes terrible. What you read becomes so much more. A story is not just story, it is also the choices you know the author has made in telling the story.

Becoming aware by hearing the story, as you have done, is becoming part of history, part of the way stories have always been told.

I'm trying to be profound, here; I think good stories *sound* as well as *read* well. A friend of mine is profoundly dyslexic, and reads by listening--to audiobooks and books for the blind. He recently "read" TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, by Harper Lee. He was ecstatic--he loved the story and the telling of it. He was so excited that he insisted that I read it, too. In reading it, I could also understand what he was hearing, and gained insight into how the author evoked the town and the people in it, to help her story.

His twelve-year-old son says "Oh, well. I read it. It's good. So what!" His father and I say "It's a great work of art," because we detect, in reading or hearing (or even seeing the movie) the evocation of place, time, and people who live within the story and make it timeless.

Anyway, thank you for putting your excitement at discovering that extra dimension into words.

Ziljon
07-17-2007, 05:19 AM
I was having trouble evoking the right feel at the opening of my novel. Then I listened to a book that was set in Georgia (USA); the reader had a southern accent. That gave me an idea. I started to hear that voice in my head as I wrote my new opening.

Then, when I recorded it to CD for my drive home, I used a fake southern accent. That really worked because it made me slow down, to really feel the words, and, best of all, when I listened back it was like listening to a different person. Are their accents in Finland you could imitate? Try it.

Summerwriter
07-17-2007, 06:47 AM
"Awareness is all!"

Well spoken, Memoirista! Don't they say one should know the enemy? If you don't know your enemy's tactics, you can't beat him. Or something like that. I think it could be true when writing is concerned too.


I'm thinking in slogans today. This generality applies to knowing one's self, surviving in a hectic world, almost anything.

Well spoken. Or, in this case, well written.


Awareness is wonderful and sometimes terrible. What you read becomes so much more. A story is not just story, it is also the choices you know the author has made in telling the story.

I must admit the stories were just that - stories - to me when I was a kid. The next part was understanding the lesson of the story. I mean in 'good wins evil' way. My English skills won't let me explain with more details but I believe you understand.


Becoming aware by hearing the story, as you have done, is becoming part of history, part of the way stories have always been told.

I think that's the way it is.


I'm trying to be profound, here; I think good stories *sound* as well as *read* well. A friend of mine is profoundly dyslexic, and reads by listening--to audiobooks and books for the blind. He recently "read" TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, by Harper Lee. He was ecstatic--he loved the story and the telling of it. He was so excited that he insisted that I read it, too. In reading it, I could also understand what he was hearing, and gained insight into how the author evoked the town and the people in it, to help her story.

I wish I could write that way...but I think I have a looong journey ahead of me before I can reach that level.


His twelve-year-old son says "Oh, well. I read it. It's good. So what!" His father and I say "It's a great work of art," because we detect, in reading or hearing (or even seeing the movie) the evocation of place, time, and people who live within the story and make it timeless.

That 12-year old boy could have been me many many years ago. Why? Because that was my way to react. I liked the story or did not like the story, and that was all. But later I have become aware of all these...little details of storytelling. Aargh...me and my messy English...but it simply won't let me tell things as I'd like to...not enough of skills, you know. But at least I try.


Anyway, thank you for putting your excitement at discovering that extra dimension into words.

Well, I am glad if you understood my clumsy English...because telling these things in foreign language is much harder than if you told them in your maternal tongue.

Birol
07-17-2007, 07:40 AM
Well spoken, Memoirista! Don't they say one should know the enemy? If you don't know your enemy's tactics, you can't beat him. Or something like that. I think it could be true when writing is concerned too.

You might be thinking of:

"Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer." ~ Sun-tzu

Summerwriter
07-17-2007, 11:40 PM
Hi Birol!
Oh yes you are right. And in this case...the story is my enemy. Sounds crazy, I know...but sometimes I really feel that way. Oh well...Gisela is on strike and I am too...that discovery yesterday was quite a big thing for me.

Summerwriter
07-21-2007, 05:18 PM
Hi!
Here I am torturing you again. OK...I kept listening to that book on tape, and I made another discovery. The MC of the book, K, has a grandmother. She lives in a nursing home. Well, K goes there to see his grandma. There is also a kind of reading circuit or something like that. K is the one reading. The story never describes the reading moments but shortly. Wish I could explain better, but my English skills won't allow it. Anyway, I realized...the original writer of that Finnish book has left the details away. There must be a reason. The story is actually about K, when he is trying - and he is trying hard - to find a girlfriend. So...the reading moments in the nursing home are just mentioned shortly. Some short scenes there are, of course, concerning those reading moments, but that's all.

I do not know if any of you get the point of this message, but to me it is this: maybe the eating scene in the BdH (Bearditch House; a story I myself am writing) is not necessary. But when I wrote it I felt it was necessary. Oh well...you won't success every time. Maybe I should just write something about Anita going in to eat and Sue staying in the swing, eating slowly and thinking. Or something like that. I am not sure. But I think I'll edit that Bearditch House story a bit.

Birol
07-21-2007, 05:41 PM
What purpose do you think the eating scenes serve? Does something happen there the reader needs to know? Does something happen there that reveals character? Does the fact that the MC goes there show something about the character, the plot, etc?

Summerwriter
07-21-2007, 07:06 PM
Hi!
Here again torturing you all...sorry about that. But I kept listening to that story. Now the MC, who I call as K and his friend S...they are in the forest, and they have no compass. They have a certain destination, but I am sure that when they take "a straighter way" or something like that (whatever that is called in English), they will get lost. I just know it! It may be just my instinct but sometimes I just know what the writer has intended to happen to the characters.
*****
OK, some moments later...I knew what the female character M wants and what kind of person she is. Hah! I knew what she wanted long before K realized it. Some books..they are like that. The reader can guess what is going on before the MC does.

Soccer Mom
07-21-2007, 09:37 PM
Sometimes it is intentional on the part of the writer. It can be useful in building suspense if the reader knows more than the characters. This is the sort of thing that makes you yell "Don't go in there!" or "Get away from that suitcase!" (when you suspect that the suitcase has a bomb in it.)

It can also be clumsiness on the part of the writer. Foreshadowing that is too explicit. Or a story line that is trite and overdone.

Summerwriter
07-22-2007, 12:25 AM
Hi Soccer Mom!
Thanks for your message. I admit...sometimes I try that myself...but I think it is not any successful thing in my writing. Oh well...that's life, I guess. And the story I am listening to right now...well, it has some...turns I have not been able to expect. So some surprises indeed. Like...a group of thieves, even they pretend they just are fishing their meal from the trash bin of a market. Let's hope the MC will find his girlfriend. And the girlfriend of K may not be N after all...it may be S. That is the way I am feeling right now. But we shall see what happens. I admit...the MC is still a bit...stupid, but toward the end of the book he is getting the point...I mean...the disadvantages of having too many girls. He is trying hard to get a girlfriend, but he may have one closer than he thinks...and he is blind to the obvious option! Oh well...we shall see how it ends.
*****
OK...I thought A will be K's chosen...but it was S in the end. When A abandoned K, I knew S would be the one. Oh dear...I admit the writer of the book traveled with me familiar route the most of the time, but sometimes he took me to a detour or some route I was unfamiliar with. But I admit I was happy in the end.

Soccer Mom
07-22-2007, 06:56 AM
If you enjoyed the journey and the end, that's the whole point. Just my 2 cents worth.

Learning to be a writer does change the way you read/listen to stories, doesn't it?

Summerwriter
07-22-2007, 03:47 PM
Hi!
Soccer Mom, you are sooo right! It does change my view...but slowly, ooooh so slowly. I think I need more experience about this thing...and I believe the local library can help me with that.

Soccer Mom
07-22-2007, 07:55 PM
Yup. Reading and paying careful attention to what works and what doesn't is the important first step. The just as important second step is to keep writing and trying these things out for yourself.

Summerwriter
07-23-2007, 08:22 PM
Hi Soccer Mom!
I know. I know. I just happen to be blind to my own mistakes until someone will point them out for me. Oh well...that is life, I guess. But at least I try. Even now I am listening to a book, A, the MC, is going to kill a woman who is working in the same place with him. A has very deep desire to that woman, but the woman says no. So A decides the woman must die. I admit there are nice descriptions...and A is very...calculating person. He knows what he is up to. He knows what he wants. His poor victim has no idea what is going to happen - at least not yet.