Monthly Archives: May 2015

Some Thoughts on Reading Aloud

So my friend, over at Metuiteme, has a post about reading aloud and, upon reading it, I felt a need to comment. And the comment ran long and has become the following post:
 
I love reading stuff aloud. I read to my wife and, recently, my sweetheart. It’s a really lovely way to share stuff – time and space, for a start, but also things like cosmology, and the beautiful secret meanings of Things that, because they live in a story you shared, take on a new significance in day-to-day life as well. Bees. Red yarn. Crow feathers. Black thorns and red, red petals.
 
I didn’t start reading aloud to people until I was 30, so this is still a new and wonderful thing for me. But I’ve been writing to read aloud, if that makes sense, for much, much longer. Ursula has that essay in The Wave In The Mind about trying to find Deathless Prose and the roll of vowels and stuff that can give you something almost like an internal rhyme scheme in sentence form. I’ve been writing towards that goal since highschool, if not earlier.
 
I very definitely think it has something to do with the structure of the language. I can read Terry Pratchett (who also writes accents) out loud just fine, for example. I get the feeling that JKR wrote the Harry Potter books, particularly the first three of them, to be the kind of books that kids who were fairly new to reading novels, and also to reading silently inside their heads, would be able to devour on their own rather than have read to them. I don’t know if that was relevant to how she chose to word her prose, but it’s a thing to keep in mind. Whereas JRRT was writing a myth cycle for England, essentially, complete with poetry that was *meant* to be declaimed aloud. That and his own Classics history meaning that he’d have known Homer backwards and forwards and *that*, more than novels, would have informed his writing style. At least I suspect it would have done.
 
Reading aloud is a sensual thing. A sensory thing. So a LOT of the advice for erotica-writers, specifically, includes the suggestion to read your work aloud to yourself during the editing process. It helps you find the places where you stumble, where someone else might stumble and lose the momentum of the scene because of it. It helps you find (and fix) the pacing of a scene through word choice. I find it really effective, personally.
 
Anyway. Reading aloud is wonderful (though keep some water on hand). Give it a shot. 🙂
 
 
A.

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Ask Your Friendly Neighbourhood Lesbrarian # 5: Books Featuring Trans Teenagers That Don’t Focus on Transition

TransYA that isn’t transition-focused. Thank all the gods.

Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian

Jeffry lovannone PhD on twitter sent me this request a few weeks ago: “YA with trans characters that are not ‘transition narratives.’ ”


Now this is a fantastic and necessary question.  So often stories about trans people in lots of different mediums (TV, books, movies) act as if the only interesting thing about trans people is their transition process and gender identity.  It’s like there is no more to tell once the character comes out and transitions, whatever that means for them.  They’re just so-and-so the trans person, instead of so-and-so, who happens to be trans.  What is up with that?  Life does not end after transition (0r coming out, for that matter).  These kinds of stories are about trans people, but they’re usually written with a cisgender audience in mind, and by cisgender authors.  For more on this point, check out Casey Plett’s great article in the Walrus on…

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