How do you see your story as you write?

Sherylyn asked me, the other day, how I ‘saw’ what I was writing as I wrote it.

She is very visual. She sees the story almost like a movie as it unfolds in her head, and the hardest part for her is getting that picture down exactly as she sees it, and not losing what she has seen as she translates it to paper.

I had to think about how I do it, and I still couldn’t say for certain. All I can say with certainty is that I seldom see movies.

Most of the time I am inside the character’s head, seeing what he or she is seeing, thinking what he or she is thinking, feeling what he or she is feeling, sometimes even smelling what he or she is smelling. It’s very focused. I couldn’t necessarily even tell you what the view is outside that narrow focus, who else is around in the story. It’s often a nebulous grey area (dark grey) and I have no idea what is happening there. It’s a bit like a spotlight on the stage. All attention is focused on the spotlight, and everything around it is dark.

Sometimes I can’t even tell you what the main character looks like outside of some general characteristics. Scott, from Barrain, is tall, blonde and obviously nice-looking. He’s athletic, because he snowboards and skis. Not so long ago he’d be classified as a yuppie —I don’t know what that translates into in this generation. But one person’s nice looking and fit is not the same as someone else’s. I can’t give you an exact idea of what Scott looks like because I don’t really know.

Ask Sherylyn though, and she could probably give you a police identikit photo of him. And that photo, incidentally, is unlikely to look anything like my version of Scott.

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