I don’t normally like being read to, because I think there’s a right and a wrong way to read aloud.
There’s also a slight cringe factor that comes into play. It’s awkward listening to your own work being read out–especially if it’s not really meant to be read out. It’s a short story or a novel or an essay, not a monologue.
I’ve been giving myself readings of my revision, which means that while I might have the first chapter pretty much locked down for the moment, as I read aloud, I’m finding sentences that don’t sound good or when a word is repeated too many times or when a better word would do or when the dialogue doesn’t sizzle–things that my friends used to point out to me when I forced a first draft down their throats. (I sincerely apologize, guys. I promise the second draft will be so much better.)
But here’s how I’m reading to myself: when I’m alone. When I’m completely locked into my story and my character. I’m allowing myself to be the stage-chewing actress that is really locked inside–dramatic. Pausing. Occasional gestures. I’m forcing myself to enunciate (because mumbling is a big no-no to reading aloud) and to erase any traces of my lingering New York accent…
I feel like because my setting and character are British, it’ll all sound better if I at least speak the dialogue as British. Which is where the English accent in my head comes into play.
Here are some readings I like, in honor of Read Aloud Day.