Monday, July 30, 2012

Is There a Camera in Your Mind?

Often when I am writing a scene for a novel or story I can visualize it in my head.  It's like there a camera in there filming the scene for a movie.  This helps me a great deal because it lets me simply record the scene as I see it. I refer to this as the camera in my head.

Having a camera in my head also lets me step through a scene frame by frame and examine what's going on.  Remember the scene in Bladerunner where a photo of the crime scene yields all sorts of evidence?  The camera in my head works like that too making revision easier because I can stop the action or rewind it and fiddle with a specific bit or other.

The other benefit is I know when to revise a scene; when I am not visualizing it, it needs revision.

I don't know how I developed with approach; some person a visually oriented and others are not.  Writers tend not to be.  We think with words not pictures, as opposed to painters or sculptors. But like any generalization that is true only up to a point. I learned that sometimes you need a picture, like a map, because words just won't do.

On the other hand there are times when I only want to use words.  Poetry relies on this and so do good descriptions. The right words in the right order to convey precisely what you want to say.  I've hit the mark, or come close a few times.  You can too if you are willing to practice, practice, practice.

An exercise to develop a camera in your head, try reading a lot of fiction and watching movies that tell a story about a set of characters.  That's harder to find these days than it used to be so don't be afraid to rent some old movies.

And above all, keep writing.

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