cupidsbow (cupidsbow) wrote,

How do you think?

A few days ago I stumbled across tamiveldura’s discussion of how people think when they are creative.

Needless to say, it got me thinking about writing. Because it's *so* hard to get me to do that :)

Then I stumbled across zebra363’s interesting discussion of fan reading versus fan writing, and it got me thinking about how I conceptualise and then translate stories into words.

So now it's time for the obligatory rant on...

Do you think in words or pictures (or some other way)?

I tend to think in pictures, and especially so when I’m imagining a story. In fact, I tend to get totally immersed, when it’s a good story, to the point that I almost get tactile impressions and smells as well as emotions and pictures.

I then translate what I see/hear/feel into words when I write the story down. At first, this created a huge gap for me, between what I perceived in my head, and what I could achieve on the page. The page was *always* inferior, barely capturing a faint whiff of what I envisioned.

What I’ve found, as I’ve become more practiced at fiction writing, is that the gap has closed considerably. There are several reasons for this: a) my ability to translate from pictures/sensory information into words has been vastly improved by practice; b) I have more realistic expectations about what my story will look like on the page; c) I think more in a kind of collage now, with words actually getting wrapped into the pictures in my head as I create scenes; d) I have a better set of writing skills in my creative toolkit.

At heart, it’s still pictures though. I sometimes wonder if this is a big part of the appeal of fanfiction for me: because a lot of the pictures have been autogenerated for me already by canon.

So tell me what it’s like for you. Do you think in pictures and then translate? Or is it words all the way?
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