I have a confession to make: I almost always hate audiobooks? Why? After all, they’re convenient, they’re fun, and they’re a good way to make your daily commute fly by.
But they can also be painful to listen to, especially when the author of the book didn’t pay any attention to what his writing sounded like when read aloud. The best writers’ work feels like music when performed; there’s a flow and a rhythm to it that’s not unlike a song. Done badly with series of short, staccato sentences–or worse yet, run-on paragraphs without a pause to catch your breath–and it’s about as much fun to listen to as your neighbor’s toddler banging on his toy drum set.
Musicality isn’t only necessary if your stories are going to be turned into audiobooks, however. Language is essentially a spoken medium; even when we read silently to ourselves, we hear the words in our mind. When the sentences and paragraphs flow smoothly, it’s a pleasant, transporting experience. When they don’t… well, we’re back to the toddler’s drum set.
If you don’t know how your work flows, spend some time reading it aloud to yourself. Wherever you stumble, wherever it feels unnatural, that’s where your reader is likely to stumble as well, pulling them out of the world you’ve tried so hard to create. But find your proper rhythm, and they’ll come back for the experience again and again.