1. BillyxRansom
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    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    Imagining scenery

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by BillyxRansom, Sep 15, 2008.

    Do you have a picture in front of you or can you picture everything in your head, without needing a starting point? Is having a visual in front of you pretty much key? Do a lot of authors do this or do more authors just see it in their heads than have a picture in front of face?
    Also, in terms of specifically describing the scenery, do you often know most of the terminology you will need or do you use a dictionary (or visual reference with the names of trees/grass types/whatever) for finding the appropriate words?
    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    I can't describe a picture well enough because I feel the information is thrown at me without warn, and I can't grasp the starting point. However, when I visualize a picture in my head, I kind of draw it, so I know where I started, what were the basics and what were the details - and how it feels like in my head. So, in short, I stick to my head.

    Not really.

    I don't know any authors who don't have to visualize, at any given point; though many I know also write from personal experiences so meh.

    Depends. I often may need to search, and at other times may know my terminology. When it comes to names of stuff, I think there is no need to be shy. We're writers; not botanists or something.
     
  3. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    No, I don't need a picture.
    Nope.
    I don't know a lot of authors, just a small number and I don't really ask them this kind of questions.
    If it's about architecture, yes, I will probably need to research on the terminology and such. I haven't really thought of mentioning specific plants, but I guess if I needed it I'd research it too.
     
  4. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    I visualize in my head. I used to draw a lot and have been known to picture things in my head very clearly. I've tried describing scenery by looking at an actual picture and it usually comes out like a laundry list of the things I see; very choppy and not good writing at all. Now I only write what's in my head, because my mind naturally limits me to visualizing only what matters. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words; who wants to read a thousand words about a picture? Fortunately, the pictures in my head are the abridged version. ;)

    And I avoid complex terminology. I like to belive that I am of average intelligence, so if I have to look up a word, my readers will probably have to look it up too. Why put them through all that trouble?
     
  5. Kylie
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    Kylie Contributing Member

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    I can picture just about everything (not faces though) in my head.
    No, it's not for me. Every once in a while, when I go to certain places, I decide to have a scene in my story that looks somewhat similar so I write down a few dscriptions then. As I said earlier, I just see it in my head.
    I try to keep it basic and not use very complicated words that no one understands. Unless my MC is a genius in (for example) tress, I don't see why it's necessary to find the complicated terms. For some things though- that I know completely nothing about -I do look up some words in the dictionary.

    Hope this helped.
     
  6. ParanormalWriter
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    ParanormalWriter Contributing Member

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    I usually see the images in my head, but occasionally I'll be flipping through a magazine and find a picture of a cottage or a country garden or whatever that inspires me. Then I might tear that page out and use it for a future description.
     
  7. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I see things in my head for the primary reason that most of my settings are nonexistent OR are of places I've never been to but need to "create" to fit the purposes of the story. (For example, a city that really exists but I've never been there, yet I know what I want to be in the story.) I don't tend to use photos or pictures because for the most part I just make things up myself or use what I already know. I'd have to force the photo to fit into the story somehow. A picture might influence a landscape in general that I use in the future but I don't tend to use them for specific places.

    I use the terminology I know. I figure, it's better that way because most readers will know it too. Whereas if I get all technical on strange landscape terms, some people might have no idea what I'm talking about. Plus, if I don't know what the thing is called, how could I look it up in the dictionary or on the Web? "I want to know what those weird low hilly things are called"? I don't tend to get really weird with landscape features anyway since it's all lakes and trees in my area. *shrug*

    Oh. One exception is my use of the terms "breccia" and "brecciated," because that's a big local geological feature on an Island I write about. :D
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sounds like the same thing, to me... i don't get what you think the difference is... or, by 'a picture' did you mean an actual photo/whatever?... if so, of course i don't... how could i, for every setting in a story?... i don't know of any seasoned writer who'd have to or even want to waste time searching for print/online pictures to fit what s/he's writing...

    again, i can't tell what you mean by 'a visual'... when one is writing, one always has a mental picture of what one's putting into words, or the words couldn't end up on the paper/screen, could they?...

    and again, if you mean an actual photo or whatever, it would make no sense to me whatsoever, to have to do it on a regular basis... that said, of course there might be times when a particular image is sought, say of a famous landmark, when i might want to get a specific detail just right, so would consult a photo only for that reason alone...

    ok, so now i can see you did mean actual photos... and if by 'authors' you mean the well-published ones, YES, they just picture it in their heads... that's one of the major requisites for being a writer... it's called 'imagination'... ;-)

    yes, i know the terminology and probably 90% of the time won't have to search for just the right word, when it doesn't pop into my head easily... when i do, i'll use a thesaurus...
     
  9. DrJoe
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    DrJoe Member

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    If you want other readers to be able to visualize the scene, you should be able to do it on your own.
     
  10. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    If it is important to name a tree for example, such as a willow tree, and I cannot remember the name of that tree, then I will look it up.

    I never use photos.

    I have read a good amount of how-to-write-fiction books, and none of the authors mentioned using photos.

    But if you find using photos helps, then you should do it, because we are all unique. Stephen King likes to blast Rock in Roll music while he writes, and athough that works for him, it might not work for others.
     
  11. Scarecrow28
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    Scarecrow28 Contributing Member

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    I can generally picture things, also I'll occasionally use a photo.
    Nope
    I'd think most just form a picture in their heads.
    I generally know the terminology, if not I just use google. :D
     
  12. Dcoin
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    Dcoin Contributing Member

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    I usually have a blurry picture of what I'm looking for. After writing, if the picture does not clear, then I'll look for several images the fit my original idea. I take the piece of the images I like, and leave the rest behind.
     
  13. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    I use my imagination and keep terminology as close to the bone as I can. Research is a different matter.
     
  14. Little Miss Edi
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    Little Miss Edi Contributing Member

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    I find that bits of the 'scene' or scenery are ridiculously, crystal clear while everything else around it is very blurry. So, although I don't use a visual aid (surprised I never thought to either) I have to revisit a scene over and over again and build up the bits that are missing.

    I've no idea how many authors do it, but lots of painters and artists do.
    As for terminology, I've always a dictionary at hand, whether I use it or not is a different matter. :)
     
  15. Still Life
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    Still Life Active Member

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    I've never used a dictionary. Always a thesaurus. I've always felt that the thesaurus was a writer's best friend, the dictionary just a thing that cramps my creativity.
     

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