I’m reading an awesome little book by William Sloane called The Craft of Writing. I find this one particularly interesting because he talks a lot about the relationship between the author and the reader.
There’s a good bit of writing advice available now, and a great deal of it suggests reading your work out loud to make sure it sounds right. This, to me, has a little merit, but it’s always sort of confused me because we don’t generally read out loud. When I read Mr. Sloane’s line “Writing is meant to be read, not read aloud” I felt a little vindicated. He’s right, of course, nothing that I’m reading, whether it’s my own work or one of Stephen King’s best sellers, sounds right if I’m reading it out loud. I felt the same way about the Harry Potter books when I was reading them to my children years ago. It simply isn’t meant to be read that way.
I think, sometimes, we forget this. We forget the relationship between the author and the reader is a personal one, it’s one that others can’t really share, and when we ignore that relationship, we lose some of the power of the writing.
Now, I’m well aware that others won’t agree with this, and that’s fine. As readers, we each have our own way of interacting with the written word, and, as authors, we have our own way of determining the best way to approach our writing. These are simply my thoughts on the idea of reading work aloud, for it’s never helped me in the slightest.