I read The Confessions of Adam out loud.
On November 28th I went to DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, with my friends Jim and Rita to hear a reading by the current US Poet Laureate, Tracy K. Smith. The reading was excellent. While there I reconnected with my former professor and friend Greg Schwipps. We were catching up regarding the planned publication of my debut novel, The Confessions of Adam (Bold Vision Books, 2019).
Not far into the conversation Greg became very serious, as he does in his wonderful way, and shared with me a lesson learned from the publication of his terrific Indiana-based novel What This River Keeps. Greg told me that now is the time to ensure that this novel is as good as I can possibly make it. I told him that I’d read it twice, in hardcopy, pencil in hand and had identified several edits. He shook his head yes, as if to say ‘of course you have.’ He then looked me square in the eye and said there was one thing I had to do – read the manuscript out loud.
Suddenly I remembered this tool. Reading out loud. I’ve used it for short fiction for years. I swear by its effectiveness. Yet somehow, when it most mattered, I’d forgotten all about it.
So what happened to December? I read The Confessions of Adam out loud, 8-10 pages each day to my wife – she on one side of my writing table and I on the other. She heard things, I heard things, and upon these things I made yet more marks with my pencil.
Indeed, I forgot you for a month, dear blog reader, but I’m sure you’ll forgive me. For the novel you will read later this year (my sincere thanks in advance) will be better for my absence.
And thank you, Greg, for this most timely reminder!