Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Calle
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Calle Rainbow Writer

Member Seen 34 min ago

I just had an eye-opener and I want to talk about it.

There was a facebook discussion in a group I'm a member of, starting with a meme.
This was the text:

"I recently found out lots of people don't see a movie in their head when they read a book. They just see words on paper. How sad is that?
Aphantasia... a condition where one does not possess a functioning mind's eye and cannot visualize imagery"

In the discussion it soon became apparent there are people lots of people who do see a movie in their head when they read, but many don't.

I'm one of the people who can't really visualise what they read. So, I guess I might have this Aphantasia. Even my own characters, I know everything about them, but I get a vague image of them at best. I have a rich imagination though, I've written so many adventures, I just don't see it play out in my mind.

Now, I don't agree with the meme calling it 'sad'. I love reading and I never felt I missed anything by not seeing a movie play out. I'm just more focused on the characters, the clever dialogue, the emotions they have and what they do in the story. Maybe I can't see it well, but I still know what is going on.

This could explain why my own writing tends to focus more on the characters and the dialogues they have, and less on what goes on around them. I can't visualise it well and therefor I can't describe it well. If someone is in a forest, I will say they are in a forest and not spend a paragraph about how the forest looks, because honestly, I don't know myself.
A dear friend of mine once said she loved my concise way of writing, while I love her rich descriptions. But at the same time, long descriptions of scenes don't do anything for me, I can't do anything with it, so when things get too flowery I start to skip over the long descriptions.

So, how are your experiences and what are your thoughts about this subject?
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Gareth

Gareth KingKlutz

Member Seen 3 mos ago

Thank you for introducing me to the word Aphantasia.

I've read books on and off. The Lord of the Rings has a lot of scenery description in the beginning of the first book. I gave up reading that series about ten pages in.

The Wheel of Time I read through the years and at last finished the series, sometimes speeding through the books. Robert Jordan the Wheel of Time author would do some scenery description but that would be like three pages of a twenty page chapter. The remaining pages were dialogue/ and an increasing cast of characters as the series went on. With constant backstabs and plot twists to keep you engaged.

Back to Aphantasia: For me I do not have Aphantasia. I can imagine what the author is telling me as I read it. But I don't do it frequently as it tends to slow my reading way down and I end up re-reading what the author wrote just so I can really paint the picture in my head and not miss anything. I visualize the author's words when I want to savor the book and I don't want it to end. Or when I start a new book and I'm introduced that first scene and meeting the very first character when nothing's happened yet and I get to experience everything.

But when I get excited and I end up wanting to finish the book fast, I read faster. When I read really fast I just want to know what happened. Did the villain get killed? Did the villain get away? Thus the words just equal actions and results. It's like when someone asks you is the movie funny and you say, "nah it was just dull and boring".

That balance where authors can keep readers engaged whether its concerning aphantasia or not is the real challenge.
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Rhiven Knight

Rhiven Knight

Member Seen 16 min ago

Interesting, I wonder to what degree that the experience of aphantasia is a scale. For instance when I am writing, or reading, I get vague impressions off the physicality of what I am reading or writing, so I can imagine the weight behind a deep dark forest the way its presence weighs on a scene, but not the specific appearance of the forest no matter how well its written. In action scenes i tend to imagine the motions of the scene, meanwhile during more emotional scenarios I dont imagine the emotions the character is feeling(I struggle with theory of mind) but I can imagine the weight and tension the emotions bring to the scene like to the affect of gravity or inertia in a physical scene.

So on one hand I get more than just words, but I dont get much more than impressions to accompany those words.
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by The Bork Lazer
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The Bork Lazer Chomping Time

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I think being able to visualise a scene and write it out for me is what I need to consider with every word I write. It's not really a case of ensuring verisimilitude in every scene that I write but more out of ....necessity? You know how they say an image tells a thousand words and so forth? I rely on just general auditory and visualistic stimuli in order to concentrate on writing. When I want to write abstract details, I usually rely more on music to help me concentrate my tone whilst if I am writing concrete imagery, I usually have to both listen to music and visualise the scene in my head.

In terms of text-by-text roleplaying, it's an interesting case because you're essentially collaborating to write a story instead of the other way around where you are the sole writer of the story. You're gonna have a lot of writing styles mesh together and I can definitely say that as aphantasia varies relative to the individual writer, the level and style of prose in a thread is gonna weave and bob between multiple styles of writing.
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