As I have probably mentioned, I belong to two WGs and each serves a useful function for me. The first group operates in the traditional way; we email the stories/poetry/plays, critique them at length and meet to discuss it. Great help. The second seems less helpful on paper. We read our work aloud, no exhange of material.
But I have noticed something in the last few months. Reading the story aloud really points out sections that go on too long, dialogue that sounds wooded or unrealistic, characters that seem like stock figures. The critiques given are seldom very deep or thoughful but the reading it aloud itself helps.
Long ago, I have a MAC which had a fuction that read my stories aloud and that was a great help. Since then, I have experimented with taping stories, but it is just too much work and I hate the sound of my voice more than Rachel Ray's so listening to a tape is agony. But just reading it, points out deficiencies without such pain.
What do you find helpful?Do you ever read your work aloud before publication?