I had no idea how revealing this would be. A lot of authors say they read their works in progress aloud to find typos and missing words, and it does bring those up, but the real discovery for me was the emotional content. That sounds odd, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t I know? I felt it while I was writing, but after a few revisions, I started to doubt the book, to wonder if it was sufficiently compelling even though my critique partners said it was. When I read the dialogue aloud, I discovered the full intensity of the conflicts.
Another revelation was the excess detail in a number of scenes. When I’m revising silently, I tend to debate whether or not a line needs cutting. Does it give depth and flavor, or does it slow things down? When I was reading aloud, there was no question. I did this as if I were the voice actor for an audiobook, and if I couldn’t bring energy into certain material, if I couldn’t act it, it was interrupting the scene, not adding to it. I cut about 900 words that didn’t seem excessive when I did my “cut revision.” From now on, the “audio revision” goes into my writing process toolbox.