How would your first 10 pages sound if you had to read them out loud?
The “Speech” feature on Scrivener, the content-generation tool for writers, can be found in the Edit menu. Activate the feature and a voice starts to read out what you’ve written. No, it doesn’t sound like your best friend but at least this robotic voice delivers your words in a reasonably audible fashion.

It’s an interesting exercise. If you don’t have Scrivener, then get someone to read out your first 10 pages. You’re not allowed to do it – too much temptation to fiddle and change words as your speak. No, you need someone impartial and prepared to stand up and be heard.

Here at TF10P headquarters, we use the speech tool. A lot. This is why we do it:

1 It is a great way to pick up typos that the eye has otherwise skimmed over.
2 It gives you some “space” from the manuscript. You’re now a listener not a writer.
3 It gives you a better idea of content “flow” (and what drags).
4 It flags up unwanted repetition.
5 And finally, ultimately, you can work out whether what you’ve written makes sense or not.

Michael Rosen, above, performs a series of poems titled ‘Poems And Stories About My Family’. The poems are all taken from Michael Rosen’s books and this series of performances was produced by Joe Rosen.

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