Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Problem of Being a Visual Writer

I literally dream my book ideas. They play out like movies in my head while I sleep--vivid, engaging movies that makes me say "Whoa, cool," when I awake (because I can't speak more than two words until I've had coffee). The problem comes when I try to translate said dreams onto paper (er, laptop).

I tend to write more like a screenwriter. I hear the sounds happening around the scene and see the exact spot where the light filters through the trees, just like in the dream. I have the picture so clear in my head that I don't always feel the need to translate it, as though my reader should be psychic. A beta reader will make a comment about something they didn't understand, and I'm like "Well, clearly the intergalactic space station is perpendicular to the planet, which is why the three suns rise in the formation of a isosceles triangle." Okay, it's not that bad but you get the point.

Then, I came across this great article by Patricia Wrede. She talks about how writing a scene is different than filming it, and though you can never make it read the way it would be filmed, you can have an enormous impact by how you write it. It's something I'm still working on, and I found this article really helpful.

Has anyone read this article? Anyone else out there a visual writer?   


  1. I am the same way. I can dream or meditate a scene, then when I go to write it I feel everything I felt - I just fail to communicate it properly, leaving the reader feeling disconnected. I hadn't read the article by Patricia Wrede until you linked it, and I agree with you. She has great suggestions and even a few inspiring examples. Writing a clear setting is something I'm currently working on myself, so I quickly bookmarked that page. Thanks for sharing it. :)

  2. Carrie--I love that you meditate scenes--I'll have to try that. I'm glad it was helpful, and that I'm not the only one who struggles with this. Thanks for commenting. :)

  3. I'm the same way!! Such a problem for me. I haven't read the article, but I'm off to click the link :)

  4. I have the same problem, Kristi! That was a great article, thanks for passing it on!

  5. Marisa--hope you like the article.

    Hi Kelly--it's good to see you on Blogger! Oh, and you're welcome. :)

  6. I'm looking forward to reading this article. I'm definitely a visual writer and thinker. I watch my scenes unfold before I write them. Especially if it involves action. I will try to stage them so that I'm sure they work.

    I think in a way this helps me because I try to take that vision and make sure it's clear where everything is. I tend to leave out the things you can't see, like scent and taste. I have to remember to think about those things too.


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