Examining Authors’ Brains

It is essential to read aloud what was written because ears can always pick up errors that the eyes couldn’t.

Who would have thought, writing and speaking are supported by different parts of the brain in terms of controlling the hand and mouth, and in a deeper levels of the language system that contain knowledge of how words are put together.

readers+writers journal

author brainThe Psychology of Writing

via The Guardian

The novelist Kamila Shamsie measures out her life as an author in chapters, punctuated by a familiar ritual.

“Usually at the end of writing every chapter I’ll print out and read aloud,” she says. It’s something she’s been doing since university, she continues, citing the Kashmiri poet Agha Shahid Ali, who told her “there are things the ears pick up which the eyes don’t”. As she sits on the lookout for repeated words, unexpected clunks or unwanted dissonances, it “feels like listening”.

“I don’t know how to say that any better. It’s about the sound of the sentences.” After years of “developing your ear for the sounds of language” she doesn’t have to think about “why a particular clump of syllables sounds wrong to my ear. I just know that it does.”

At the heart of Shamsie’s process of revision is a…

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