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mazingerz88's avatar

In reading a fictional novel, how do you visualize the story and characters?

Asked by mazingerz88 (25920points) June 14th, 2011

I was reading a newly bought book called “The Ridge” and quickly imagined the main character as Harrison Ford. But getting to the next chapter, he becomes George Clooney in my head. I’m afraid in the next few pages, he could turn into me since a sexual encounter might be forthcoming. : )

So how do you visualize the scenes and characters while reading a novel? Do you assign certain original images and faces and stick with that or do they keep changing as you progress?

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17 Answers

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I like to keep it original.;)

ragingloli's avatar

Manga style, baby!

marinelife's avatar

It depends. I do visualize the scene sometimes not the characters.

ucme's avatar

Through interpretive dance.
Bunny shadows on the wall is another truly marvellous method ;¬}

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

I don’t think I ever visualize characters as any “celebrities”, though in my head I do have a visual image of what how they might appear.

However, if in my mind I think, “This might make a good screenplay,” then I start to “cast” the story with well-known actors.

Hibernate's avatar

But why do you see your characters only related to big stars ? Why not see them as little stars ? [ cinema that is ]

I never picture characters close to cinema stars because these can only move a bit .. hard to explain. A star only does what he’s suppose to do and to get the best act he does a lot of double till it’s perfect.
I try to see characters as people in a real life not being able to do the same action several times [ ikt’s perfect from the first try or they act as they did it ]

Gosh I don’t seem to gather enough words to express this.

wundayatta's avatar

I have a vision of what is going on. I don’t know where it comes from. It just appears. It helps me understand spatially what is going on in the story. I think the images are generally images from my past. Like if it’s a novel about NYC, I picture the NYC I knew back when I lived there.

Sometimes it gets mixed up, because I had pictured a road turning one way, and then that turns out to be impossible in order to go along with the action in the novel.

Mostly, though, I don’t think about it. It just happens.

iphigeneia's avatar

I don’t tend to use famous faces when I imagine literary characters, I actually don’t think the image in my mind involves faces much at all.

I have very clear ‘visualisations’ (whatever the aural equivalent is) of dialogue, though. I often have to stop myself from repeating particularly striking lines out loud in order to appreciate them better. It probably doesn’t help that if the protagonist is female, 90% of the time I’ll mentally place myself in her shoes.

Soubresaut's avatar

I have a place in my mind, fictional-land, I guess. I think about a book, and I’m taken back to its world. They’re never any place I’ve actually seen before, although occassionally will echo each other. Distance is irrelevant, but location and organization, once established, I can’t ever change. So many times I’ll be reading and thrown off, because then the book will say, ‘on the right,’ and I’ll go, ‘no, it’s on the left.’
The characters I see, they’re always their own being, even if they don’t always agree with how the author envisions them. Their faces are crisp and expressive, their bodies definite and almost more expressive.
I guess because the books feel like they’re in their own universes, different from mine, different from each other, I can’t put anything “real” in my reality into theirs.

MilkyWay's avatar

I never imagine them to be someone I already know or see them as another character, it’s always original like @lucillelucillelucille said. Each character in each different story/novel is different to me.

King_Pariah's avatar

I imagine their physical build, the way they walk, how they hold themselves, the type of haircut, the thickness of their skin, shade of color of their skin, scars or no scars, how they dress, their smile, their frown, etc. I can pretty much create a person taking what features I feel are appropriate for that character, but I cannot do the eyes.

laineybug's avatar

Well no matter what gender, for some reason I’m always the main character. The rest are original. Sometimes they slightly resemble people from my life, but only when the personality fits that person.Once I have a picture of the characters, they don’t change unless something in the book describes how they’ve changed.

Sunny2's avatar

The characters remain kind of vague in my mind until the author adds descriptive words. Hair may become copper colored, curly, shiny; eyes may be deep blue, squinty and/or laughing. I see what I think the author is describing, but it’s obviously my interpretation of the author’s description. It’s based on my experience, not the author’s. I like it when I get a pretty good mental image.

Ajulutsikael's avatar

I keep it like the character is described in the book, or if there isn’t a decent description, how I would think they would look based on their personality.

athenasgriffin's avatar

When I am reading a book, if I really enjoy it, I invariably will become the main character, providing she is female.

When the main character is male, I am more likely to pick a secondary character and be that character. I don’t know why, but if I can’t mentally place myself as the protagonist, I am less likely to truly see the book in my head.

This always comes back to haunt me when books are made into movies. I just can’t stomach it if the actors are too far away from my mental image.

wundayatta's avatar

@athenasgriffin Do you then primarily read novels with female protagonists?

athenasgriffin's avatar

@wundayatta Yes, I do. I will try to read books that stray from that pattern, but it does not bring the same sense of connectivity.

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