I discovered about three years ago that people see pictures in their heads. When they read, when they listen to music, when they're told stories, they get pictures in their heads.
I do not get pictures in my head. Not when I'm reading, not when I'm writing, not when I listen to music. I had *no idea* that people did. It was a stagger-worthy shock when I realized that Fantasia was based on the idea that people *saw stories in their heads* when they listened to all that music.
*No one* in my immediate family had any idea people did. Dad said he'd have taught many classes differently if he'd known that. I remembered a drama class visualization exercise where we were supposed to visualize we were lying on a white beach with the blue sky above, and palm trees and all that sort of thing, and it bent my brain to think that probably two thirds of the people in the class were *actually seeing that*.
They say to succeed at sports, you have to visualize the win. I had no idea they meant literally. Sure, I can talk myself through it, but actually *see* it? Buh. No.
Ted was astounded, because my writing makes clear pictures in his head, and he couldn't imagine how I did that if *I* wasn't seeing pictures in my head.
The answer is by working really, really hard.
( for example, an URBAN SHAMAN sceneCollapse )
That scene, those paragraphs, took me about six hours to write. Not all at once, but going back and staring and thinking and crafting and working as hard as I could to get all the words right. The penultimate and antepenultimate paragraphs there took me about four hours of work alone. Remember that I write, on average, about a thousand words an hour. Description is *not easy* for me. And I find it utterly fascinating that apparently something like two thirds of people see pictures in their heads.
This clarified something that had been puzzling me for years, when I learned it. There's a scene in EMILY CLIMBS, the second book of the Emily of New Moon series by L.M. Montgomery, in which Emily is talking to a man whose son has died. The man can't remember what the boy looks like, because he isn't like other people, and can't bring images to mind.
My entire life, I had always thought that was a weird little scene. I mean, not like I spent nights awake because it actively bothered me, but it's always bugged me a little. Like, what did that mean, bringing images to mind? Like people *did* that or something? *snort*
Me, I can't hold an image in my head for more than an instant. Ted, otoh, can apparently call up a specific person or thing, hold the image in his mind, do a 3D rotate on it...bizarre beyond belief.
(At Writer's Weekend a few years ago I put this question ("Do you visualize?") to the 40 people in the room with me and shadowhwk. Every single one of them raised their hands. I said, "You all are *weird*," and only realized when several people laughed and pointed out I was the oddball there that I was, er, well, the oddball. But being me, I persisted in thinking *they* were weird.)
So tell me: do you visualize? If so, can you do the 3D image thing? If you're a writer, what happens in your head while you're writing? Are there pictures? Do you keep images in your mind when you write them? If you visualize, do you like poetry? What *kind* of poetry?