Perhaps one of my favorite writing tricks of all time is to read every single word out loud. I do this for short stories and articles, cover letters and query letters, nonfiction books and novels. Any novelist out there might be thinking that this would take a lot of time. Too much time in fact. But I honestly can’t think of a better way for any writer to smooth out prose and catch mistakes. While your eyes can skim right over your all too familiar words, but your lips and tongue will slow you down and really see things. Your ears will catch stilted, unnatural prose.
I probably read various versions of SAVING THE GRIFFIN out loud to myself six or seven times. I did it when I finished the first draft as well as right before sending it to an editor who was looking for it. (There’s something both delightful and terrifying to know for a fact that your entire book will be read by an editor after years of submitting to the anonymous piles of manuscripts known as slush.) I read the project before sending this editor two more drafts. Finally, I read each chapter out loud one last time as the final copy edits came whirling in.
All of this reading out loud seems to be making for a good read-aloud. The BookLady of the Provo City library feels like it could make a good family read-aloud. (I’m guessing that one reason for that is that younger kids will identify with Michael.) Another blogger at Reading Treasure Chest feels that it’s definitely a good read-aloud with fantasy, adventure and a hint of danger. Click on this site! If your scroll down, you’ll find a great video featuring Siena’s Piazza del Campo and the Torre del Mangia. A key scene from SAVING THE GRIFFIN takes place here. I felt a rush of nostalgia–as that word is used and pronounced by Italians. (no-stall-GEE-ah) In fact, I could just see Grifo, Kate and Michael sitting on the piazza during one section.