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C.C. Hogan

The Joy of the Readthrough

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There are always moments I have forgotten which are a wonder to rediscover

It might be a vital part of writing, but reading back through your own story is also pleasurably narcissistic.

I read through my work continuously, wandering back a few paragraphs or working my way through the chapter I have just completed, but eventually I reach the end and can rewind my story to chapter one and revisit the entire book.

I love doing this. I always read out loud, giving my characters accents and voices and I let my narration take me by the hand and drag me through my world and my story.

There is a practical reason for doing this, of course; I untangle all the "theres" and "theirs" and I remove spurious " from the end of sentences and, of course, collapse in laughter at all those paragraphs that sense make no ever what so. This is essential and part of the job.

I also have the opportunity to feel with my characters once again. I share with them their laughter, their surprise, their heartbreaks and their grief. I chuckle with them, wince with them, get angry with them and cry with them.

I learn to see the world I created through their eyes, not my own, and I can touch their hearts with my pen and give it any extra light and life that it requires.

Most of the time I do not care that it is part of the process of writing, I really go for the enjoyment. I have a strong voice and am good with characters, so I perform it as much as I can. I know when I get it right, both the words and the performance, for when I reach the moment where a characters stumbles over their own sense of loss, I stumble over the words with them and have to take a breath. 

I hope that means I have written well, but even if not, then I am glad I am truly empathising with my characters, have fallen in love with them, even the baddies, and am glad to willfully follow their journey yet again.

The joy of the readthrough is the proof of the joy of writing, and the two will always have equal billing on my list of "Must Dos."


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