I've heard many times that we are supposed to read our work out loud after we've finished the rough draft. The whole idea gives me the willies. One of our bloggers, Keith, mentioned how he reads his blogs out loud. I thought...okay, I've done that a couple of times when I've read them to my family for comment, but not for editing purposes.
I've NEVER done it with my novels. Perhaps it's time to start. The idea of reading them out loud is daunting because I'm not a storyteller -- at least not that kind. I've always envied those who can weave a good tale with their voice and draw the listener in. I like to hear a good story as much as anyone -- although, on a side note, I've been listening to a book on tape this week and I'm not sure I like it. I read FASTER than they do (grin) and I would be finished with it by now!
But, be that as it may, if it weren't a helpful tool, then it wouldn't be mentioned. I have several novels that are in need of an extra touch. Perhaps that is all they need -- to be read out loud and see how the language flows, how the story feels, how long the listener stays involved.
Although, I'm not sure I'll read it while anyone is in the room – then I'll really be anxious. They'll be judging me on my skills as a reader as well as a writer, and I'm not sure I'm up for that right now. I think as writers we get enough criticism that we don't need an extra dose.
So, if you're feeling that your manuscript is lacking that little something, that it's just not flowing as you wanted it to do -- read it out loud.
You can always go outside, the birds might like the company.