How do you read?

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How do you read?

There's a voice in my head (mine)
203
40%
There's a voice in my head (characters')
156
31%
What the hell are you talking about, psycho?
65
13%
Out loud
10
2%
Otter/Duck
74
15%
 
Total votes: 508

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Nimz
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Re: How do you read?

Postby Nimz » Wed Mar 05, 2008 11:27 am UTC

I have two new observations that I hadn't made previously in this thread.

1) After having been typing Dvorak for a little while now, I can hear the words as I type them now, not just the letters.

2) For the most part, "hearing is believing" is how I feel about what I read and write and about thinking, in general. That's why I'm not as comfortable with speedreading, although I can do it. There is an exception to that rule, though, when I'm writing mathematics. Often I will write maths and hear what I'm writing (or rather, my auditory shorthand for what I'm writing), but occasionally I'll manipulate the symbols without that constant narrator saying anything, or if it does say anything, it'll be something like "dah, dah, dah" with each "dah" representing something different - each something is visually or conceptually well-defined in my head.

To expound a little bit on the "hearing is believing" thing, sound, even mental sound, is usually the most effective way for me to know what I'm thinking. This goes for speaking, too - I have a difficult time talking if I can hear someone/something else talking.
E.g. (over TV) - Hey, Nimz, what are you planning to do tonight?
(TV still going) - ... (can't think of anything to say)
(mutes TV) - well?
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Music doesn't really bother me much in that respect, so when I read, I like to be in a quiet place or listening to music. Then again, I can be reading and listening to music only to find that I heard that a song I really like played, but I didn't hear the song (if that makes any sense). Despite my efforts to stay on topic, I keep straying away, so I'll stop now while I'm ahead. I apologise for such a disconnected thread necro.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby wery67564 » Wed Mar 05, 2008 9:58 pm UTC

I put otter/duck, my inner voice doesn't come on til spead reading... I normally pull in 150-180wpm on a careful read, but it seems like there is no "Voice" so much as a lot of visual imagery. When I am speed reading I have this weird clippy robot like voice similar to mine flying through my head. I kind of seperate concentration from ocular perception to processing my thoughts.

I have no idea if that makes sense...
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Re: How do you read?

Postby procrastinator » Thu Mar 06, 2008 10:06 am UTC

This seems like a difficult one to think about. I guess when I read I sort of translate it into a vision of the story inside my head, if the characters are speaking or thinking I'll generally translate it into their voices in my head.

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Re: How do you read?

Postby Nimz » Thu Mar 06, 2008 12:41 pm UTC

I may have somewhat overstated the importance of my inner narrator. I drive around and even when I am acutely aware of my surroundings I don't have any voice saying "car" or "traffic signal" or the likes. But when words are explicitly involved, I have to hear them to believe that I understand them. Almost a side note: when I watch a foreign language film or show that has subtitles, despite wanting to learn the language I tend to tune out the spoken words themselves and hear the words in English, subbed on the screen. I should probably read more non-English books...
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Re: How do you read?

Postby adrian » Thu Mar 06, 2008 12:42 pm UTC

If I'm particularly impressed by the language I'm reading, and I'm alone, I often read out loud. A bit strange really.

As for the voice in my head, it is mostly mine, but when it comes to reading in German, it can, unlike me, make all the right sounds.

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Re: How do you read?

Postby Owehn » Thu Mar 06, 2008 2:24 pm UTC

I said earlier that there's a voice (mine, though it doesn't have to be) that narrates as I read. Upon closer inspection, though, I've realized that I read out of order, and the perception of a voice reading as I go is something of an illusion. (I know that I read out of order because sometimes I'll grab a word from late in the sentence and think I've read it near the beginning - if this doesn't make sense, I reread the beginning, find that the word wasn't really there, and then discover it again as I continue. If I pay attention to where my eyes are pointing, they seem to rove in sort of star-shaped patterns down the page, instead of just back and forth.)

Does anyone else do this?
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Re: How do you read?

Postby cephalopod9 » Fri Mar 14, 2008 10:03 am UTC

Reading words more or less has the same "shape" as an inner voice, but I don't usually think of it as sounds (unless I'm purposefully paying attention to it). Sort of a place holder for sounds I guess.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby Sandry » Mon Mar 17, 2008 12:53 am UTC

Reading this thread is driving me crazy. I usually don't do an inner voice at all, and that's not a problem. But now that I'm thinking about it so much, I'm having a bit of an inner voice because I'm thinking about it, so I have started narrating my own thoughts. AARGH.

I'm fairly certain I haven't had a reading voice in my head for a good long time because a) I almost always listen to music, and it doesn't distract me, b) my sister and I used to read a lot of the same books (around grade school age) and have debates about how to pronounce characters' names. I found myself often making up what I thought the pronunciation was during these conversations. On attempting to re-read books using these pronunciations, some of them turned out to be sort of untenable.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby MrHackman » Tue Mar 18, 2008 6:14 am UTC

When I learned to read, I learned it not as book = buh-oo-kuh="book" but instead as book=the symbol b followed by the symbols o,o, and k=book. i don't sound the word out in my head, i just see it as meaning the whatever the word is. It's like reading is a whole separate communications medium, like charades is to speech. This has resulted in being able to read (assuming I'm interested in the book) 700+ pages in about 12 hours, but I mispronounce things constantly, without knowing I'm doing so. English teachers actually really hate this, as when they do that stupid "popcorn reading" thing, I'm always 10+ pages ahead of the class, and they have to correct my pronunciation a lot. They also tend to thing I'm lying on reading logs, assuming I actually stop reading long enough to actually do them.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:41 pm UTC

It really doesn't matter if you learned to read by sounding things out, though. It's English. Due to rampant wordtheft, many words break the rules of pronunciation anyway. All the phonics in the world won't help you pronounce Lichen correctly.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby Zohar » Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:54 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:It really doesn't matter if you learned to read by sounding things out, though. It's English. Due to rampant wordtheft, many words break the rules of pronunciation anyway. All the phonics in the world won't help you pronounce Lichen correctly.


Isn't it just LEE-chehn?
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Re: How do you read?

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Mar 18, 2008 1:34 pm UTC

Lichen (IPA: /ˈlaɪkən/)

Like-N, basically.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby lamito » Thu Jan 01, 2009 6:04 pm UTC

Owehn wrote:I said earlier that there's a voice (mine, though it doesn't have to be) that narrates as I read. Upon closer inspection, though, I've realized that I read out of order, and the perception of a voice reading as I go is something of an illusion. (I know that I read out of order because sometimes I'll grab a word from late in the sentence and think I've read it near the beginning - if this doesn't make sense, I reread the beginning, find that the word wasn't really there, and then discover it again as I continue. If I pay attention to where my eyes are pointing, they seem to rove in sort of star-shaped patterns down the page, instead of just back and forth.)

Does anyone else do this?


yes but i also finish a line go back to the beginning of that line, read the first word, then read the next line. if that makes any sense at all.
normally if i'm reading a book and there is an epilogue that seems really epic it will come out in the movie trailor voice over guy's voice (in a land far away...), but after the actual story starts i'm lost to the world. i see the pictures like i'm watching a movie. i 'hear' the voices of the characters. sometimes if the book is written like it just needs to be narrated it will come out in my voice. i some times fit actors or people i know into the roles, but often it just people i've made up. also if there's a movie adaption of the book i see it as those actors. with the exception of dumbledore, i see him as more of a gandalf type person.
i think this is really weird, but i also have a narrator for reading non fiction. if it's science homework or something it will come out in the voice of my teacher, but if it's just because i'm interested in that subject it will come out in the sort of voice you would expect to hear in a documentary, normally in an english accent.

also while reading all this stuff about character voices i started to make up voices for all the different posts.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby Kag » Thu Jan 01, 2009 9:57 pm UTC

Flying Betty wrote:the words go straight into my brain in huge chunks.


Late, but iirc, this is impossible because your brain never learns to actually recognize words, and processes each letter individually as a tiny picture it has to remember. Since speed-reading is apparently still possible, my guess is that it's more like you're mass-processing words into short-term memory before actually recalling meaning.

Of course, I'm not a brain scientist, so that's probably complete bollocks.

Oh yeah, the actual thread: I construct the scenes in my head, makes it much easier to remember. Stuff like forum posts get read in some kind of neutral narrator voice that isn't mine.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby Ralith » Sat Jan 03, 2009 3:59 pm UTC

Sometimes it's in what I imagine is their voice, mostly it's in mine.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby skeptical scientist » Sat Jan 03, 2009 4:57 pm UTC

I voted for the first option, there's a voice in my head (mine). However, there's one exception: if I know the author's voice well enough (for example, I'm reading a book by Barack Obama) then the voice in my head will be the author's.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby Mzyxptlk » Sun Jan 04, 2009 2:45 pm UTC

I mostly just absorb the text directly. I basically use it to put myself in the story as an external observer. I sometimes "see" things the writer doesn't mention, and because I'm a fairly chaotic reader (skipping back and forth) I routinely miss things as well. I don't recall ever having had a voice in my head reading the individual lines to me, which seems to me like a horribly boring way to read a story anyway. I mean, what's the point of reading if you can't immerse yourself in the story?

It's different when I write, then there is a voice in my head, reading what I write back to me, telling me what to write, something in between there. I think it's kind of (but not quite) like a mixture of my voice and my impression of a really good narrator's voice.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby Jack. » Sun Jan 11, 2009 4:45 pm UTC

I find it hard to answer this question because if i think about it much i become instantly, and totally illiterate - it's kinda like seeing something in the corner of your eye but if you look directly at it it disappears.

But here's what I've kinda worked out:

Narrative Voice: mine but not mine - it's not the voice i speak in, it's my thinking voice. If you wanted to know who it sounds like I'd have to say... Morgan Freeman? Yeah, it's him, and it's my throery that he is the voice in everyone's head. :shock:

Character Voice: The voice that i imagine the character would have - simple.

1st Person Character: My talking voice. Probably because i relate myself to the "I" in the story. Good for immersing myself in a character's mind-set, kinda unnnerving if that character is a psychopathic serial killer.

What I interpret from the words: I don't see the words, or their meaning, I build up the setting around what the book says.
For example if the passage says "he walked down the road to a red car", I would see the road and the car: The car would be red all the time, but the road might change each time my mind's eye "looks" at it. E.g: one time it might be gravel, then tarmac, then pizza (not so much that last one, i ran out of materials, but you know what i mean).

As for what has not been described, i build it up either from scratch, or from hints earlier on in the book: for example if earlier the book said it was in a town, i see houses, a church, the post office etc.

But what i find wierd is that if my mind's eye isn't looking directly at an area, it just feels blank untill i "look" at it, and it gets filled in with stuff. i suppose thats why we can't see through the back of our heads - we'd probably go mental. :?
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Re: How do you read?

Postby Firnagzen » Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:24 pm UTC

Erm. Almost all the options except the 'What are you talking about?'.

When I read normally, I hear my own voice for the narration parts, interspersed with the character's voices if enough information is given for me to form some sort of impression about how they sound. I like to mouth out my favourite bits, sometimes.

When I get my hands on an eagerly awaited book, I power my way through it; no voices in my head. My eyes distill out liquid meaning which gets fed straight to my brain. I practically double my reading speed when I do that, and I block out almost everything else.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby Orca » Thu Jan 22, 2009 12:38 am UTC

When I read I tend to have a quiet narration going on inside my head, with different voices for each character. Kind of like listening to an audiobook, except i choose the voices, the reading pace and well...everything else. heh
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Re: How do you read?

Postby PhatPhungus » Sat Feb 14, 2009 7:34 am UTC

I don't have a narrator in my head while I read (I do while I write, as I just noticed). When I read, I see very vivid images of what I'm reading in my head, and I forget that I'm actually reading. What's interesting is that I build a setting in my head, sometimes completely disregarding the authors words, and substituting what I like better (for example, I imagine Hogwarts with everyone in normal clothes)(I also do this with names, if I don't like it, my brain moves around the letters until I do like it). This sometimes makes it hard to move settings from the original location to one nearby, because I'm distracted by the original perspective I built on. I do hear specific character's voices.

When reading nonfiction, I don't really hear a narrator, it's sort of there, but the information itself comes through much more strongly than the words.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby thatguy » Fri Feb 20, 2009 3:49 am UTC

I usually end up ignoring the words on the page, if that makes sense. Like, the story just sort of... is there. Make sense? The only downside is if I get bored with a paragraph, I end up skimming, so then I'll force myself to narrate it in my head.

I've noticed I usually speak sentences aloud, then write them, so my sentences usually end up being inordinately long and complex and are very casual.

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Re: How do you read?

Postby Oort » Fri Feb 20, 2009 7:43 am UTC

Dangit, this is just like telling someone to be conscious of their breathing. I tried to examine my reading style but was too self-conscious to act normally.

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Re: How do you read?

Postby rheakith » Fri Feb 20, 2009 4:50 pm UTC

If what I'm reading is on the boring side I'll usually end up speed reading it and it's narrated with my voice in my head. However, if it's something more interesting, I'll get sucked into the story, and it ends up being more like watching a movie in my head. If it's in first person, I am the narrator's character and if it's in 3rd person I'm the omniscient narrator, with all the characters having their own voices.

Although with the 2nd method, I'm almost always disappointed if a movie comes out based on the book because then they aren't my characters anymore.

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Re: How do you read?

Postby rat4000 » Sat Feb 21, 2009 12:25 pm UTC

I hear a voice, mostly, and it's mine in the sense that it is the voice I think with - definitely not the one I speak with, though. All the characters have the same voice, but somehow I imagine them speaking and not the text speaking. That part is kind of hard to explain.

Also, I'm a rather slow reader when the book is interesting, because I rarely imagine the location while I'm reading. It's more like "read, stop, imagine the location whose description you just read, read on". Strangely, there is no such thing with action.

I also hear a voice in my head when writing, and it's the same one.

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Re: How do you read?

Postby porcupine » Mon Feb 23, 2009 2:51 am UTC

When I read I do either of two things:
non-fiction/instructional text - I always skim over the material. I don't know how much information i absorb that way but recently i had to take a quiz over a chapter of The Great Gatsby that I hadn't read, and I had maybe 15 minutes to skim, and I think I got around 70%.
fiction/reading for pleasure - after a page or so the text disappears, and instead I see it as a movie, but not a movie. The story is happening, but it's more of a reality than a movie, the outside world ceases to exist. I seem to read faster this way, but since I am not consciously reading, it's hard to tell. I did read the last Harry Potter book in about 8 hours, for comparison against the chapter I skimmed.
I just took a few reading speed tests on the internet and averaged 300 - 380. I don't how if speed affects the way I read, but I assume it's important.

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Re: How do you read?

Postby jagdragon » Sun Mar 01, 2009 7:25 am UTC

I usually read the story, and just get meaning from it. Visuals, if really needed or there is a particularly descriptive bit, but mostly just meaning. Only the voice in my head if I'm having trouble understanding a part (the words don't line up properly).

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Re: How do you read?

Postby Meowgan » Sun Mar 01, 2009 2:08 pm UTC

In my mind my voice narrates, but the characters have their own voices. And my mind voice occasionally interjects with whatever my responses.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby Marbas » Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:43 pm UTC

The book, she turns into a movie in my head! The narration just kind of goes poof, unless the prose starts to offend my sensibilities. Then the movie gets rudely eliminated. Like those accidents with old projectors.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby Tommy2995 » Sat Mar 07, 2009 10:01 pm UTC

I read with my eyes open.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby Melchiades » Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:38 pm UTC

My god. I'm doing the character's voice thing with this topic too. Talking.. avatars..

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Re: How do you read?

Postby PhatPhungus » Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:32 am UTC

rheakith wrote:Although with the 2nd method, I'm almost always disappointed if a movie comes out based on the book because then they aren't my characters anymore.



This, majorly. I absolutely hated the Harry Potter movies for this exact reason.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby Aaddrick » Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:23 pm UTC

I voted for characters voice. Honestly I don't really notice any voices and remembering a book feels like i''m remembering a movie. Like a few others said, I only hear my own voice in my head if i'm being distracted, and it's annoying as hell.

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Re: How do you read?

Postby PAstrychef » Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:10 pm UTC

I really really love language for it's own sake-I love the sound and mouthfeel of words as unique properties separate from their meanings. But I tend to have a very conscious narration going on in my head most of the time anyway.
There are actually separate brain systems that deal with aural and visual language- go check out the Stroop Effect for a good example.
I also tend to use the "word as block" technique, and read very very fast-I can get through two novels in a day when I'm doing nothing else. But for years I thought Bilbo's friend was Glandaf, and I have a hard time with long or bizarre names in fantasy novels. Thai names just defeat me. (They even defeat the Thai-who tend to have nicknames like Bunny or Teddi)
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Re: How do you read?

Postby SherryCQ » Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:12 pm UTC

While I CAN read fast enough for the words to start sounding like keyboard clicks in my head, I much prefer reading at the speed of average talking. While I read, the characters all have their own voices (including the narrator, which is a baritone man's voice for some reason) and I tend to read dialogue over at least once: the first is to get realistic-sounding speech, and the second time is to match up whatever happens during the dialogue.

And since I am an avid theater buff, I usually read things out loud for fun and to get more into the story.

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Re: How do you read?

Postby torrentaddict2012 » Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:34 pm UTC

Silently to myself as though the book was 1 long narrative, kinda like the way most audio books are recorded.

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Re: How do you read?

Postby semicharmed » Thu Mar 12, 2009 4:53 am UTC

I only "hear" the words in my head when I'm conscious that I'm reading. That tends to happen a lot when I'm doing journal-reading, or not enjoying what I'm reading. That's also when music tends to be a distraction.
When I'm reading, in a groove, so to speak, I don't hear the words at all. It's hard to explain, because when I'm reading I'm not really conscious of anything else but the story. I used to sit in the bathtub and read when I was a little kid until the tub was cold and I was shivery, and apparently used to keep calling out "one more chapter" to my mom. And not know...

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Re: How do you read?

Postby wontonjohn » Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:46 am UTC

i definitely hear a voice in my head whenever i read. strangely enough, it's not my voice, nor is it an array of voices for each character. it's always a female's voice, like one of the ones you would hear on an audiobook. however, this doesn't keep me from reading at a fast rate; i can read 70 pages an hour.
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Re: How do you read?

Postby solitarysock » Tue Mar 17, 2009 12:40 am UTC

PAstrychef wrote:But for years I thought Bilbo's friend was Glandaf

This happened to me more than once (not with Gandalf, though). There was this city called Caivallon, which I consistently misread as Cavaillon, which made much more sense anyway, as it had something to do with horses...

For me, it depends on what I am reading and how I am reading it. I can skim through a text -- really just look diagonally across it for a few seconds -- and roughly know what the text is about and where the keywords are. Obviously, no voice there. Then, I can do speed-reading, that is slightly slower, if I actually read most of the text, but don't want to spend too much time on it. Usually no voice there, either, and I tend to skip parts. I read most forum posts and nonfiction this way, stopping whenever I find something interesting. That's when the voice comes in. Not my own voice, I think, but some sort of nice, even reading voice. It also reads my own posts to me while I type them, and sometimes tries to read my thoughts aloud, which is very annoying, because I think faster than it can talk, and I will realise this, think to myself that I already finished this thought half a minute ago, that I know what I wanted to think and that I don't need to phrase it out in my mind, but that voice insists on doing exactly that, and I can't stop it in mid-thought...
Fiction is different, as long as I'm not tired or distracted, the story unfolds in my mind, I will forget the real world and fully experience the fiction world. I have realised that I don't even read full sentences, but that my eyes will wander through the page, going here and there, skipping a paragraph, re-reading something, going back and forth. However, I don't usually notice that in the "flow" of the story, I just experience the story in a chronological order, and if I read small parts in the wrong order, I just put them back together without noticing. I usually read 800 pages in ~8h, and if I go any faster, I will miss parts of the story, which I only realise upon re-reading it.
If I find a sentence that I like very much for some reason (e.g. a character's witty remark), I feel sometimes compelled to say it out aloud, just because I think it's cool enough to be said/heard.

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Julien
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Re: How do you read?

Postby Julien » Tue Mar 17, 2009 11:06 am UTC

I hear a voice telling in my head but it's neither mine none one of the character's. It's a different voice for each book. Let's say each book has a voice of its own.
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