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Wednesday, January 3, 2024

The Voice of (New) Experience - IWSG January 2024

Welcome to IWSG Day. The goal of this blog hop is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a haven for insecure writers of all kinds. IWSG is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. Thank you to this month’s co-hosts, Joylene Nowell Butler, Olga Godim, Diedre Knight, and Natalie AguirreTo read posts from other contributors, click here.

Happy New Year all!

Since I’ve had no experience with BookBub, I’m going to ignore this month’s question. Instead, I'll tell you about how my year ended with a good start.

Seems like I’ve been writing forever, never getting to where I want to be, but still plugging. A lot of it is my own fault in that I don’t push myself hard enough. But that aside, I’m aware I have a weakness with accuracy. No matter how I struggle to proofread—reading aloud, letting a manuscript rest, printing the piece out and using my red pen to mark it up, changing the font so things look different, I miss mistakes that make my work look amateurish. I overlook where “then” should be “than,” where “you are,” should become “you’re,” and where I say the same things three different ways when one would do. When proofing, my mind goes too fast. I know what I wanted to write and my brain assumes I wrote it. Even worse, I make typos while correcting the mistakes I discover.

I don’t know what took me so long. I’ve been aware of the “Read Aloud” feature in Word for years, but midway through December and half-way through an edit of my current manuscript, something made me start using it.

Holy Moly, what a difference a boring voice makes. With monotone computer woman droning at me, I catch mistakes because with her lack of inflection, she forces me to hear them. Whether it’s leaving out a comma (She doesn’t pause, so I stop and look.), catching where I’d changed a tense but left in “ing” instead of “ed,” hearing where a sentence is just plumb awkward, the list goes on and on. I go back and forth between being horrified at just how many mistakes there are, and grateful that finally, finally, I seem to have discovered the means with which to fix (most of) them.

It’s been a hallelujah, praise the Lord kind of few weeks for me—an early Christmas gift of confidence to think that maybe in this way, I can continue to improve my work. 

Once I get through my current manuscript, I’ll decide where it goes from there. While that’s happening, I have three other novels gathering dust in a proverbial drawer. I’m going to let computer voice have her way with them, too.

Do you use the "Read Aloud" feature in Word? What are your best tips for accurate proofreading?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I didn't know there was one. Thanks for the tip! Sounds like it would really expose a lot of mistakes.

jabblog said...

That feature sounds really helpful.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I know! I discovered Read Aloud in 2020 during covid, and what a difference it made. Kudos to you, Liza! Happy IWSG New Year.

Nick Wilford said...

I've never used it, I don't think I knew about it. But anything in our arsenal to catch those mistakes has to be good.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Hi Liza!

This really resonates with me: "When proofing, my mind goes too fast. I know what I wanted to write and my brain assumes I wrote it." You nailed it! As to Bookbub, I'm not very familiar with it either but another feature I'm trying to get acquainted with. As to the read-aloud feature. I accidently activated it a while ago and was horrified!! Funny, it's happened a couple more times and I always immediately turn it off. I never thought of it a being "helpful" so maybe I should. I'm happy you've found something that helps you move forward. I think as authors, regardless of how many times we comb through a ms, we always miss something. That's where beta readers come in handy If you ever want one, count me in!!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Excellent, Liza! I haven't tried it but will make a note of it. And confidence is a wonderful gift! :)

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I am going to try it, Liza. Thanks so much for the tip!

Sarah Foster said...

That's a really interesting feature! Glad it makes those mistakes stand out for you.

Rosemary Johnson said...

I could have written all you’ve written. I struggled with accuracy and can’t see detail and I certainly don’t push myself enough.

Thank you for the hint about Read Aloud. I try to read aloud in my own voice but, like you say, you say aloud what you think you’ve written.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I have never used it and didn't really ever think about it. I'm going to think about it now.

Jan Morrison said...

I've never heard of it. Sounds great. I do read my own stuff aloud which helps.
Hope your new year (hey! Do you think k they're recycling them?) is full of creativity and , most importantly, play!

Joanne said...

Never heard of it, but you are preaching to the choir based on all of these comments. Sounds very necessary. I hope it takes you to the next step. You are too good to just fester in a drawer. Blow off the dust and take flight in 2024. Good luck my friend. Cheers!