Anyone who’s seen me in the last week or so might have noticed that I appear to have a frog lodged permanently in my throat. I am rather croaky and prone to small coughing fits. Just for once it’s not allergies. I’ve been reading my book. Out loud.
All of it.
Daft as it sounds, I now do this with every book I write. Somewhere between books 2 and 3, I discovered that listening to the text reveals certain things that I would miss if I just read it silently to myself. It’s the best way of telling if a piece flows the way I want it to, and it’s the most efficient method of catching unwanted repetitions and other awkward phrases.
The problem with this approach is that it takes for ever. (With a book as big as this one, perhaps even longer than that.) Every morning I creep downstairs at five o’clock, make a cup of coffee, and then start talking – pen in hand, ready to swoop down and scratch out infelicitous phrases. My wife would be astonished to hear me say it, but it’s exhausting to talk non-stop for such extended periods of time. I very quickly grow tired of the sound of my own voice [those who know me – insert your own joke here.] Still, it’s astonishing how many little things I’m picking up during this process that I have missed the previous three hundred and forty-two times I’ve read the damned thing. If we sell the audiobook rights, I’m going to send the poor bugger who has to read it a big bag of cough sweets.
On a related subject, my inaugural podcasty-type thing is ready to be unleashed on the world. Soon-ish. Watch this space.