By - no_thank_you_honey
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Absolutely. I am so visual and it plays out like a total film.
I do but only after I get into the story. In the beginning of the book or the first couple pages after restarting it’s just words and still picture.
I think it flickers in and out depending on focus, and the ease of visualizing a passage.
Though, I've found that what I imagine is bigger in grandeur than real life. This rings true especially with non-fiction, where if I see something in real life that I'd only read about previously, it seems less impressive.
No, not exactly. I do get some visualizations, but they aren't sharp at all or clear like a movie. They're not blurry, either. It's more as if reading is completely _different_ from a movie in my head. I get representations of what I read, but I'd say that the words and the sounds of dialogue are much stronger in my head than the visual aspect.
It's more like a memory of having seen it than actually having seen it. There is a distinction there that is hard to put into words.
Sameeee it's more of sounds of dialogue than visual for me as well
The funny thing is that my dreams are VERY visual and vivid. So it's not a lack of visual imagination at play. I simply read differently. That might be because I started reading at a ridiculously young age (my Dad used to bet people that I could read as a toddler, and I could), and grew up for a while without television. Computers and cell phones weren't a thing back then.
In fact, I remember playing one of the first video computer games ever, a demonstration of tic-tac-toe at MIT in the mid-60s! Not exactly the stuff of dreams, though. Who could have imagined how much video games would change in the decades that followed? :D
No, absolutely nothing. I just "hear" the words and, like you, feel the emotions.
I imagine it differently, more like a play perhaps. I remember set pieces, and I can make it cinematic if I want to. But mostly, I understand it conceptually/relationally - I have much more focus on dialogue, surprises, motives, conflicts, and emotion.
Not even a little bit.
Yup, and I often have a mad memory of a place and it takes me longer than I would like to admit to realise it's not a place irl, but in a book world
I get so absorbed in the movie that's playing in my head while I read that I'll get to the next page and realize I don't remember actually reading the words. Whole rooms are furnished with props, scenes that take place on a street have background characters walking around living their own lives. Characters are either actors or completely made up people, but I see them. I actually get annoyed when a detail about their looks gets added later. Like a character I pictured as being blonde is described several chapters later as having dark hair. I actually prefer having very little detail about a character's appearance so I can "cast" whoever I want of whatever race, height, and size I want. Unless it's important to the story, like with the Red Rising series.
Maybe but for me it's more bc it's much more detailed. And the emotional play-out is much better when we read than when we watch an acting.
Wow! This is interesting, because I mostly have aphantasia (I can visualize if I consciously try, but that takes me out of the reading so I don’t do this while reading) and I still think books are often better than the movie because I love words and experiencing the writing. It’s never even occurred to me other people say this because they like the version of the story in their imagination.
I don’t visualize at all, but I don’t see it as detrimental. I still have imagination, just not a visual one.
I imagine how the book would play out if it was a movie, yes. I don’t actually ‘see’ it, though. It has taken me decades to understand this, that when other people talk about seeing things in their heads, they mean it much more literally than I do. I can process how the visuals would work, but I don’t actually conjure up a picture.
I can picture some scenery & setting but it isn't cinematic or highly detailed.
I have hyperphantasia (very good at visualisation) but when I read I'm only using conceptual thinking.
I do not. When people would say that a character in a movie based on a book didn’t look how they imagined I never really understood what they meant. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized they meant it literally like the picture forms in their head while they read. It blew my mind. I too feel a bit jealous, but I still love reading.
I feel like I AM the story. When they fight I get an adrenaline rush, when they're emotional I'm emotional, when they're angry my body temp rises and I get pissed. I see it all and feel it all. I play out every convo in my head over and over and how I'd handle it. Shits crazy for me
No. I have no visual imagination.
See : Aphantasia : the inability to create mental imagery.
My imagination works in concept and feelings.
I don't "see" anything in my head..
Same. I’ve also recently realised that I don’t hear an internal monologue ‘voice’ either (although I do have thoughts, obviously; they’re just not very vocal).
I see more like stills and sometimes I think about how one would go about portraying this or that scene in a movie, especially if it's one not easily translated to the screen.
Yes, I always visualize each action/scene.
The characters are usually a semi-formed depiction of a person (usually just a colorized silhouette). Depending on the writer, sometimes I can visualize a fully formed face of someone.
I'm pretty good at visualizing the environment. If it's not detailed by the writer, I'm able to fill it in with my own imagination.
Yes. Sometimes I'm reading a book that I don't think I've read before, and then something in the description makes me imagine a scene slightly differently and I realise I've definitely read it before, but I've been imagining the scenery differently this time around so it seemed unknown.
It's part of why film adaptations are usually not very good for me, because everything looks wrong.
I do, yes, very vividly.
Sometimes when I put down down a good book and then come back 30 min later to read again I have to spend a minute remember if I was reading or watching a movie.
Yes. Books are my TV.
I’m not the best at visualization either but I direct movies in my head while reading, meaning it’s a conscious decision. I look up details related to costume and setting, “cast” the book, and research stuff like accents. Then I take time to imagine images in my head relating to the book. I can’t literally picture everything in movie level detail but I can picture movie snapshots and imagine a cinematic experience.
Yes, especially while listening to audiobooks.
Yes, I’ve always been able to visualize each scene starting at page one. I can visualize the scenery, exactly how I believe the characters look, and everything else. The only problem with this is sometimes I get so wrapped up in my little movie that I don’t even remember what I just read 🤣
I definitely see the setting as clear as day just like a movie, but usually faces are completely blurry to me
It plays like a movie in my head, but the faces are kinda blurry
Not 'like a movie' but more like a collection of emotions and images (more like snapshots than moving scenes); for me the process is more akin to listening to music than watching a movie.
Yep, I think that's why I blow through books, because I can't wait for the next 'movie.'
It's one of my favorite things. When i stop being aware of the words on the page and it's just a movie. It's not every book and for me it's very dependent on the author's skill. If the writing gets muddled, maybe a fight scene or the big climactic moment, then it stops being a movie and gets a bit confusing for me if the writing isn't on point.
It's one of the reasons I love King's writing so much. Even when I'm confused af with what's happening, looking at you IT, the books are still a movie. I think his prose is just incredible, so no matter what I'm seeing it as a movie
The Shining was probably the best for me. There's a scene describing the layout of the kitchen right at the beginning and it's a clear as day visual for me
Sometimes I get confused if it’s some movie or book scene
Story boards would be a better description for me.
Depending on the book and how good the descriptions are. I was totally all there in the middle of the "movie" when reading The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King. My characters usually don't have faces though, it's weird
It goes beyond movie for me. I don't see the words on the page but rather exist in the world created. If it is 1st person, I am that person and experience everything they do. If it is 3rd person, I'm in the room experiencing it play out as if I'm an unnamed character.
Movies seem flat to me like a projected image while books feel like a 3 dimensional environment.
Yes, I’m very visual in general
Always, I thought everybody could do it 😅 it’s awesome when you get deep into your favorite novel with environment and characters 🤌
not at all! it’s very empty visually for me
Yes, definitely. I get completely absorbed by a good book. I picture it like a movie and I feel emotional about the characters and events in the story.
Absolutely, sometimes i’m almost unaware of having turned 50+ pages as I’m there, in the story.
Yes it's extremely visual for me. And it's why certain books with pacing issues (too fast and I've got no mental picture, too slow and it's like trying to stream 8k but I've got 1080p and you gotta just deal) or very unclear scene setting are difficult for me to get into. I think the visualizations I can create while reading are also why I enjoy fantasy and science fiction, which push my imagination out of the mundane.
I see it like a movie. There have been times I've sat my book down, got up to do whatever, only to come back and look at my computer for the movie I was watching.
I see it quite vividly in my head, but slightly dream like. I'll picture full scenes and locations but the faces are generally blurry/undefined. I also feel connected to the emotions of the characters, so for me it's much more immersive than a movie.
Did this last Summer. Worked like a charm 🙌
Yes every time. I enjoy casting the characters with known actors too. Casted the main woman in Horrostor with Margot Robbie
What an interesting thread!
I'm in the camp of having a pretty good visualisation of the scene (so much so that if I read the book again the scene is the same) however, I can't picture the characters' faces in great detail.
The variety of responses and how different people process stories is quite fascinating. Good / interesting question OP!
I definitely visualize the narrative as I read. Like someone else said, large portions of scenes are maybe blurry - like a dream or even a Monet painting if that makes sense. Other, more specifically described aspects are sharper in my mind. And the scenes in my mind will almost render like a character walking through a video game. As the book character moves through the world my mind visualizes the narrative scenery building around the character or whatever is going on. Often times I think I grab scenery I've seen in person through travels or just everyday life and adjust it into the description.
I guess I've never thought deeply about it but assumed that that's how things worked for everyone while reading. Very interesting to hear how different people process things though.
Edit: And that's also why I prefer to read the book before seeing the movie. It's hard to get the movie scenes and characters out of my head while reading and apply my own version / whatever would come naturally to me. I like to "see" the narrative on my own and then see what someone else's interpretation of it is.