I’ve read a ton of middle grade books throughout my childhood and career – many of them more than once. But my own stories are ones I’ve read dozens of times.
My first attempt at writing and editing a story many years ago stayed on the computer screen. Endless hours of refining words shining back on me. I’d often change the font or text size to make it appear different. I knew there had to be a better way.
By the time I began my second story I’d come across some advice to print your story out and see it in a different light. It was sure comfortable stretched out on the couch with pen in hand and making notes on each page. Unfortunately for me, it wasn’t that much different.
Next I discovered reading a story out loud had its benefits. Doing so brought rough passages to my ears that I hadn’t noticed on the printed page. I have also used Natural Reader (a program for your computer) or often bribe the nearest warm body to read it out loud for me – very helpful.
That brings me back to the printed page. When I sit down and read published books (two this week!), they look a lot different than my manuscripts. I did an average of the last five published books I’ve read and found they average about 10 words per line. They are also arranged on facing pages. So… I adjusted the text and printed two pages on one sheet. (I did this in a PDF format but many other ways exist to create the same result). Now I could see it. A real book.
Like magic, reading in this new format was totally different. I saw the words, paragraphs, and pages in a different light.
Give it a try and maybe your own words will look as different as mine did.