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I just spent two delightfully grueling days with my daughter Jill driving from Reno to Vail. How can something be delightful AND grueling you ask? It was grueling because it meant 15 hours in her car packed so full that we were left with less space than Alan Shepherd had in his space capsule. The delightful part was spending time with her before she relocated to Vail, and she agreed to let me to read my book aloud for approximately 14 of the 15-hour drive.

Fortunately for me, Jill didn’t put reading my book aloud in her “Grueling” column.

Reading my writing aloud allowed (love the unintentional homophone use here) me to “hear” my characters’ voices, spot flaws, and tighten sentences. I recommend that everyone do it with everything they write. If you don’t believe me, try it . . . even if it is on the next email you write. In addition to making the writing stronger, it forces typos out into the open. The buggers have a way of hiding when you read your words on paper or on the computer.

At a rest stop in the middle of the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, this sign greeted us. Rather disconcerting, don’t you think? It reminded me of the editing process.

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