1. Lyssaur
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    Lyssaur Member

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    Envisioning the story

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Lyssaur, Sep 2, 2010.

    I've met so many people who don't read because they can't picture what is happening in their heads. Do you think it's a skill to be able to read continuously while developing pictures and images in your mind?

    I mean, I wonder if these people just aren't trying had enough, or if they are just looking for an excuse. I've never had a problem envisioning a story in my mind; it just comes naturally. Also, when you do envision a particular scene, are you able to recall it perfectly when it's referenced in other parts of the book?
     
  2. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I tend to try and resist reading like that. For me, language and style is hugely important, so I try not to just process it without thinking about it. I mean, obviously images and ideas are still evoked, but it's not like there's a movie playing in my head, which I don't really see the point of. If I wanted to watch a movie, I would. Reading is all about the words, so I don't understand the appeal of a so-called transparent style.
     
  3. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Personally I find it wonderful gift and I am glad I have it. I can read most stories how they are written is for me less important than the description, being able to love the characters and picture the story. I do like to know how a character is dressed though, and have colours given to me in a story.

    For me it is definitely story first and writing ability second.
     
  4. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I don't understand this. Language and style is important to me, too, but this isn't an either-or situation. I get the images in my head in addition to the sound of the language, like a parallel-processing thing. I don't think the original poster was promoting a transparent style.

    I think there are people who just don't form images in their minds as they read. I don't think it's a learned skill; I think it just happens - I can't remember a time in my reading life when it DIDN'T happen. On the other hand, maybe it helps for small children to learn to read with picture books, so they get used to associating images with words.

    I don't think that the ability to envision the story as you read is a gift, but the lack of that ability is definitely a curse.
     
  5. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    I don't know; it seems several explanations all fit.

    It could be that if someone has a limited vocabulary and / or has a hard time learning new words from context, then books will be difficult to enjoy. How can you see the action when the author is using words like "pivoted," "aikido," "snapping kick," "impact," "reflexive," or "focused"?

    Now, this doesn't bug me, but I keep having it drummed into my head that HeinleinFan is many things, but "normal" is not one of them. So maybe other people have a vocabulary problem.

    Or maybe people get distracted while they read. I mean, there are studies saying that most times when a person can't remember something important, it is because they got distracted as it was explained to them. Someone who reads while they watch TV might have this problem.

    Or maybe people expect books to be like TV, movies, and video / computer games. Where you can see everything, even the veins on the leaves, in every single scene. Books aren't like that -- the point of a written story is to draw enough lines and dots for the reader to be able to fill in the important bits. So someone who plays mostly video games might find books dull, because the books only focus on "important" bits while leaving out all the background.
     
  6. Shinn
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    Shinn Banned

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    I love being able to envision scenes while reading books. It helps me get a better understanding of the characters and the plot.
     
  7. solarstarrkatt
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    solarstarrkatt Member

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    I can do this. I don't know why. I've been able to do it since I was reading Junie B Jones.

    But the bad thing is I get upset when I see the cast/backdrop of a movie for the book. I'm all like, "RRGH! This is not how they/it looks in the book! Who casted these people/designed these sets?" Or the cast/scenes messes with how I see the book. Take Harry Potter. I had a perfect idea of how the Griffindor common room looked, and then I saw the movies. Since I knew what the story was about, and I had these images in my head, they conflicted. And it was ruined :*(

    And thus my desire to have a say in The Hunger Games movie was born.
     
  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    As a pisces (did I really just drop a zodiac ref?) I am a creature of my inner world. The Fish is always thus.

    When I read, I feel that I have payed to have the author take me on a trip. The screen is my neocortex and it is IMAX.

    I feel the novel has a more truly daunting task than the movie. The movie gets to cheat and give me all the visuals and the sound effects and (these days) even the full 3D experience. The novel has none of these tools at its disposal and yet still I expect the same. When it is delivered, and delivered well, the experience is infinitely more satisfactory than coming out of any movie. The novel has incorporated me into its machinery, it has made of me a gear within its inner clock-working and I have participated not only in the end result but also in the actual creation.

    In a way it has treated me like a lover and we have had a child together.

    Intimate?

    Exactly. ;)
     
  9. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    it's funny but I treat movies pretty much the same way as books. People keep moaning about me only having a 15inch TV screen lol but quite frankly once the movie or tv screen starts I am lost in it I don't like watching a larger screen much.
     
  10. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Wrong, wrong, wrong, a hundred times, wrong! And you know it, because you contradicted this in your very next sentences!

    The novel has a much easier task than the movie. The novel draws from an infinite pool of actors you have in your head, enabling the casting to be perfect every time, whereas the movie has only the pool of available real-life actors, and usually considerations such as how much an actor costs and how popular he is and whether he is already under contract to the studio affect the casting, and so the casting is often, maybe even usually, terrible.

    The visuals? The novel draws on the imagination of the reader for visuals, and if the author is lucky enough to have an imaginative reader (and that nearly always happens, because unimaginative people tend not to read novels), those visuals are wonderful, stunning, epic, and emotionally powerful. The sound effects, likewise. The music? No movie music can fit the visuals nearly as well as the music you may not even be aware you're hearing as you read the novel, but which leaves you yearning for its beauty when you've closed the book.

    I bolded the text that shows you disagreed with the first part of your statement. The bold part is the best thing about novels. The reader participates in the creation, and what the reader can bring to that task outshines the best Hollywood can do like the sun outshines a candle.
     
  11. Alexandra_Riera
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    Alexandra_Riera Member

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    I never realised some people can't envision a story in their head whilst reading.

    the killer for me is when suddenly the character appears to have blond or dark hair and I've pictured them differently....
     

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