You have finished your manuscript, read it so many times the counter broke, critiques have made the rounds, and the copy has been edited for all the grammar and picky word usage errors. Now what? Send out a query? Maybe not…
The time has come to really hear your story. Yes, you have heard it in your head hundreds of times and may even be dreaming about various plot dialogs but have you really heard your story? It will give you a much better read on the quality of the story and how it flows.
At first you can try to get a friend to read your story out loud to you. I didn’t get the response I was hoping for when asking a close friend for this one favor. “No, I have a headache. Reading out loud will only make it worse… Oh, are those cupcakes?” Okay, no problem. I can do this on my own.
Any recording program will do (I used Garage Band). I placed the first three chapters and read away trying my best to sound like a finished books on tape. Playing it back was amazing. I found sentences that were dull or hard to comprehend and one scene that did not flow like I had thought. I also discovered my voice was probably meant for public service announcements, Please move to the exits quickly and quietly.
Regardless, the process helped smooth out the remaining rough spots in my manuscript and move it closer to the page-turner I had hoped for. Give it a try. You might discover something new about your writing.