Can’t. See. Story

There’s a lot to be said about a writer’s imagination but sometimes I have trouble seeing the things I put in my story.

Nothing beats personal experience but we can’t literally go outside turn left and visit our fantasy world or live in a Gothic castle for the several months it takes to write our novel.

I don’t got it like that.

Who knows, maybe one day I could set my story in Paris and just live there for a month, no sweat. How cool would that be?

My characters are trapped in a mansion I’m having trouble picturing. I’ve visited many castles while traveling through Europe but I was too busy being a tourist and besides, we weren’t allowed to take pictures. I can’t visualize those castles as clearly as I need to. Wish I could draw on them to better picture the interior of the mansion my characters are trapped in.

Then, there are my characters’ features. I can say they have this eye color, this shaped mouth and hair of some color and texture but I still see personality more than faces. I have no intention of giving the reader every detail of my characters’ physical appearance. It annoys me when other authors do it. But, I’d like to have a better handle on it.

Too bad I don’t know graphic design or was better at drawing then, I could draw my characters. I could also build a 3D version of my houses and villages and literally tour my made-up settings.

My current WIP takes place in several villages, cabins and mansions with many characters and I’m having trouble keeping them all in my head. On top of that, I’m adding an Otherworldly setting and even more characters to my backstory. My already overstuffed head is about to explode.

I’m thinking I’ll have to edit my story in stages. On the first once over, I’ll focus on one specific thing and then reread it focusing on another aspect. It’ll take forever but right now, it’s the only way cause I can’t hold all that information in my head. How do authors with a big cast and an even bigger world do it!?

How do you help yourself better visualize your settings and characters? Do you build everything in your head or do you have like a bunch of charts, lists and images?

4 thoughts on “Can’t. See. Story

  1. Thankfully, my manuscripts play like a movie in my head. I see everything. I really just write what I see. I'm so thankful my brain works this way. Try visualizing your story as a movie in your head. Can you see it? If not, look for some images to use as guides.

  2. I do google searches which include the words "fantasy" and "art".

    Example, if you want to find castles:
    fantasy art castle

    Example if you want to find forest:
    fantasy art forest

    You can search any number of creatures which are fictional, like dragons, transformers or aliens.

    Make sure you click on "images" in the search result navigation.

    Hope this helps!

  3. I write current day settings, but like Diane says, image searching really works well. I used it anytime I wanted to get a good sense of a place I hadn't been to.

    While the story focuses on a group of people with mine, it does have a large scale scope, with a fair number of other people added on, so it does become difficult at times keeping everyone straight!

    1. There was a really cool article in EW last month about developing the characters for The Hobbit movie. Though there are 12 dwarves, the writers made extra sure that each dwarf had his own separate personality and that each dwarf was completely developed on screen. Not sure if the article is online or just print, but it might be worth checking out.

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