Introducing the other sister…muse…

I have to say at the outset that I’m really excited about this blog.  My sister has always been an inspiration to me as a writer and a human being (sorry, S.K….hope that doesn’t reflect badly on you!:), so the idea that we can blog together, sharing energy and enthusiasm and ideas with each other and the world, is definitely an awesome one.

Well…hopefully some of those ideas will come my way.

I’m one of those people who likes to write more than talk, and who likes to write about fictional characters more than about myself.  Give me a blank Word document or sheet of paper, and I’m happy as a clam.  Give me a blank blog post or tweet or Facebook status…and I’m happy as a clam at a clam bake.  Exposed and raw and rather…gelatinous.  Err…maybe not that last bit.

At any rate, I’m determined to change all that.  Maybe if I can write about writing about fictional characters, somehow I’ll survive!  I’ll leave the forum open for suggestions, of course.  In fact, that would make my life much easier.

But for now, since no one’s reading my mind and making suggestions before I publish this post, I will just say this:  Reading out loud is a godsend as far as editing goes.  Do you know how many times I’ve read a paragraph out loud and realized I used the same word three times?  Or accidentally left out a crucial verb?  Or misspelled some poor character’s name, when he hadn’t even done anything to deserve it?  Yes, dear reader, yes.  I’ve discovered these treacherous flaws many a time in my editing.  I’d probably skim right over them, if I were reading to myself.  You just don’t see them.  You see what you expect to see…and therein lies the danger.

Plus, for me, story-telling always feels like an aural and oral art, and I never feel like I know my work, or know if it’s right, if I haven’t heard it.  I love the texture of the sounds, the rhythm of the words and the mood their sounds convey.  I think it’s interesting that S.K. and I both love language, but that we seem to appreciate different aspects of it — like two sides of the same coin.

Now, if only I had a microphone and something better than this stone-age clunker of a computer, I might experiment with an audio sample from my book.   Might be fun!

About J. Leigh

Author, photographer, awesome ninja. I only kill people in stories. View all posts by J. Leigh

5 responses to “Introducing the other sister…muse…

  • Dr. Will

    “Give me a blank Word document …” Yes, I know that you are speaking figuratively, but … it is an empty computer file. No bits. In the black/white on/off one/zero world of computers it is … nothing … empty (hollow, thud … I knew you were thinking it … 😉

    So what makes one form of emptiness inspirational and the rest just abysmal? And if I have an abysmal rest then I am crabby all day … *ahem*

    I applaud you ladies on your drive and determination to get this enterprise off the ground … good luck and God speed!

    • jleighbralick

      Yes, well. “Everyone’s thinking it, I’m just saying it.” 😉

      If I have an abysmal rest I have a hard time waking up. 😛 Heh. What a great word “abysmal” is. Kind of reminds me of “sanguine” in that sense….

      Thanks for the well-wishes! 🙂

  • laurastanfill

    I too adore a blank page! Or, even better, a paragraph left hanging at the end of my previous writing session. I always read pages aloud before bringing them to my monthly critique group. You’re so right about catching things when doing that. I find myself noting when I have too many of the same-rhythm sentences in a row. Or if it feels like slow going, then I need to revise before I read it aloud to the group. And someone in that group, incidentally, writes by speaking the words aloud and recording them. You can tell from the way his work sounds–it’s so lush and poetic, and the sounds bounce off each other as if they are celebrating their own existence. (Not that I could ever work that way!)

    • jleighbralick

      Thanks for visiting! Oh, I have such a bad habit of going back and rereading the paragraphs I most recently worked on. Makes progress slower than it probably needs to be, but I find it helps me settle back into the world and the characters’ minds. And definitely, the reading aloud helps with the same-rhythm sentences you mentioned, too! I was just thinking about that tonight as I was reading aloud. That, and using the words “silent/silence” about five times in the space of a page. *grumble*

      I’m fascinated by your friend who writes by dictation. Wow. I’m kind of secretly jealous of his ability to work that way! Makes you wonder about the lasting literary awesomeness of the oral tradition stories, like the Iliad, Odyssey and Beowulf. 🙂

      • laurastanfill

        I try to only read a little of the previous piece before charging forward, but sometimes I can’t help editing, and editing a little more, and then all of a sudden I’m out of time!

        The guy who writes aloud uses these amazing twisty sentences, choosing words for sound, mixing homonyms and puns and tossing in other wizardly writing techniques. We all grin, laugh and shake our heads that someone can think like that and get it down on the page. The story he’s working on now is very epic in the way those traditional tales are. It has the same feel and so the spoken cadences seem to enhance that tie with tradition. He’s a great reader, too, from writing out loud and practicing the pace.

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