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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sure Fire Way To Get Rid Of Your Typos


A few weeks ago I recorded the audio version of one of my novels. 

Parts of the experience were very good.

And yes, parts were, uh, not so great.

The good: The studio I worked with was excellent, the recording was the smoothest so far (I’ve narrated other of my novels as well) and my voice stayed strong throughout the sessions.

The bad: Typos. Lots. I hate typos. They’re embarrassing and disrupt the reader’s experience.

It drove me nuts.

There I was, cruising along with the recording and BAM! a typo would jump off the page and zing me. Not once. Not twice. No, don’t ask, I’m not going to tell how many times.

I’m positive none of the typos were there when I looked over my galleys and did my final proof.

Okay, you see where I’m going so let’s skip ahead: Read your manuscript out loud. Do it. I don’t care if you’re pre-published or have written more novels than Stephen King, doing that will slash the typo count drastically. (If you found any in this post, please ignore them, they’re Gina’s fault.)

Do you read your manuscripts out loud? If yes, for the reasons I suggest above or another reason? If not, why not? Do you loathe typos as much as I do?


James L. Rubart is the best-selling, and award winning author of ROOMS, BOOK OF DAYS, and THE CHAIR. During the day he runs Barefoot Marketing, helping authors make more coin of the realm. In his free time he dirt bikes, hikes, water skis and take photos.  No, he doesn’t sleep much. He lives with his amazing wife and teenage sons in the Pacific Northwest and still thinks he’s young enough to water ski like a madman. More at www.jameslrubart.com


19 comments:

Emily M. Akin said...

You're right. Reading aloud does make a difference. Also, reading backwards works for some.

Don't feel bad, though. I find more than one typo in every book I read. Found 5 in the last novel. And, these books have been edited and proofed by pros.

Kathryn J. Bain said...

I not only read my manuscript out loud, several times, but I use a reading software (Natural Speak) that reads it back to me. I have a tendancy to type so fast I miss words. I've discovered by doing it this way, I catch most of those errors.

Marcia Chadwick Moston said...

Impressive madman skiing photo.

Ane Mulligan said...

I read mine out loud. I even write a lot out loud. That explains a lot, right? Natural Speak, huh? Does it really sound fairly normal and not like Glenda the Garmin?

Ane Mulligan said...

And with my dyslexic fingers, I need help. ;o)

Julia said...

I do loathe typos, especially other people's! :-) And yes, I read my manuscripts out loud, as much as I can stand to do it. I have to make sure nobody else is around, though. It feels too much like talking to myself.

Aimee L. Salter said...

I read manuscripts out loud because I'm better at identifying needless repetitions / redudancies that way. I also find any hiccups in the text that need to be smoothed out.

JoAnn Durgin said...

I read my manuscripts out loud, but for some odd reason, I often do it with a British accent. Explain that one! Call me weird, but I think it's fun. SMILE. The other thing I've found personally helpful is to convert my working manuscript to my Kindle. For some reason, the typos, punctuation errors, etc. JUMP out at me on the Kindle. I think it's because I've stared at the computer screen or a printed version (in a notebook) too long. My mind's eye sees what it wants, not what's actually there.

Jim Rubart said...

It always helps to know you're not alone. Thanks, Emily.

Jim Rubart said...

Good idea, Kathryn, probably something I should try.

Jim Rubart said...

:)

Jim Rubart said...

Letting your fingers do the talking ... I like that.

Jim Rubart said...

Good point, Julia.

Jim Rubart said...

I've noticed that too, Amimee. You hear repetitions that you can't see.

Jim Rubart said...

I think we need an MP3 sample of you reading, JoAnn. :)

Jodi Janz said...

Great advice. I have read my ms out loud on a recorder and then played them back to me. I learned a lot. Mostly that I do not like to hear my own voice. But I found many typos, repetitions, awkward dialogue and choppy, uneasy sentences. A good practice - if you can stand it.
Jodi

Laurie Evans said...

Yes, even thought I hate the sound of my own voice! For some reason, word & phrase repetitions also jump out when I read them out loud.

Sherri Wilson Johnson said...

I convert my manuscripts to a pdf and then let it read out loud to me in the nice little British man's voice. Then I read it again myself for flow. I quite often catch things that I skimmed over because I knew what it was supposed to say.

Gina Holmes said...

Sound advice, ar-ar. I take full blame for all your blunders in life, Jim. My older version kindle has a text to speech app so it will read my books to me. That comes in incredible handy not just to catch typos but also the flow of the book. What looks good on paper doesn't always sound good. And, in my opinion, if it sounds good, it looks good. I also find even more problems when my husband reads my chapters to me. His southern gentleman's voice is so lovely which makes mistakes stand out all the more.