RE: Voices and Writing

Subject: RE: Voices and Writing
From: Linda Stark <blstark -at- swbell -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 21:45:30 -0500

I too "hear" the voices when I read. When it's fiction, I get very distinct
pictures also, which is why I hate to see a movie if I've read the book. The
actors never sound or look like they did in the book.

Some of the people who have responded to this thread have commented that
these voices may trace back to how we were taught to read. I learned
phonics. When we first started putting those sounds together we spent a lot
of class time reading out loud. Then after a while, the oral reading became
silent reading. I remember the teacher telling us to "read to yourselves." I
think that's exactly what we're doing - literally reading to ourselves.

Not only do my voices not slow my reading speed or interfere with
comprehension, I think they help. When I scan RFPs for proposal
requirements, for example, the voice reads softly and very quickly until it
actually reach a requirement. Then it sort of gets louder and slower, which
emphasizes what I'm looking for.

When I write, the voice helps me to steer clear of stilted, awful words and
makes it much easier to write in a user-friendly fashion. I write
instructions just like I would speak instructions if the user were standing
next to me. Quite often when I'm searching for just the right wording for
something, letting the voice "say" it in my head helps me to find the
perfect phrase.

I found the voices quite helpful when I was working in a loud, busy newsroom
too. They block out the extra sounds, allowing me to focus on my editing

The people I have known who swear they cannot write are generally people who
put writing in a completely different category from speaking. They're often
terrific at orally explaining very complex topics, but their writing does
not sound at all like their speech. They go out of their way to sound
"intelligent" with big words and awkward phrases and sentences. Somewhere
down the line, they got the idea that writing is something other than just
plain communication. What a shame. But then if everyone loved words and
writing, I guess we wouldn't have jobs, right?


Linda Stark
Technical Writer/Editor
Advanced Systems Technology, Inc.

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