Lifting the Words

DSC_0445I was an actress on the stage for many years. Our first meeting as a cast was to read the play out loud for the first time. Our voices brought the words and characters to life – we found our inflections, we played with accents, we discovered the rhythm of the dialogue. In rare cases we also found spelling errors and awkward sentences.

Reading your work out loud is a fabulous way to lift your story from the page and hear your words in motion. Listening to our work helps to uncover accidental changes in point of view, tense and spelling errors. By reading our work out loud, we can discover flaws we won’t see on the page. Did my character suddenly switch sex in the middle of the story? Did the setting change from one part to another? Does it flow? This technique is particularly useful for dialogue. We talk every day, our ears are accustomed to the way we speak. On the page our dialogue might look normal, but when we give it a voice we can pick up on the awkward or stilted voice of our characters. Sometimes I even record my reading and play it back. Reading out loud is also great practice for that wonderful moment when we may be asked to share our work in public.

Our voice won’t find everything that’s wrong with our story, but it’s a first step before handing it over to our first readers and editors. You can be sure they will catch what you miss.



  1. Dawne Webber on July 12, 2014 at 10:22 am

    I’ve always heard you should read what you’ve written out loud, but I hate the thought of reading a 75,000 word novel aloud. Guess I need to get over it 😉

    • J.G. Chayko on July 12, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      Well, yes, reading a 75,000 word novel might be a bit much… maybe just read the parts you are unsure about during editing…that’s probably a lot more realistic. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

Leave a Comment

The information on this site are stories based on my personal experiences and is not intended for medical advice. All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. All content is original and owned by the author and shall not be used or duplicated without express and written permission.

If You Like What You See

Some people have inquired if there’s a place to donate on my blog. This is for those who would like to offer extra support for my work and I thank you for this.

A bigger thank you to all my readers who offer ongoing support simply by stopping by for a visit. I enjoy writing and interacting with you.

About me

J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.