Telekinetic creative cognitive imagery

Ramblings from a writers mind

   Those of you who have read my irregular scribbling’s which I post under this title will know that each post focuses on a particular, although random topic.

   Each post is written without any formal structure, hence my use of the word ‘ramblings’.

   These posts are not intended to be or give a definitive, they are just my own personal view regarding the subject of choice.

However I do hope that these posts stimulate your mind and create discussion, even debate.

   Bearing that in mind please feel free to add your own observations, views and opinions to each and any of my ‘Rambling’s’ posts.

Today’s subject is a little more direct than most of my previous posts, it is about the writer’s ability (or inability) to create the right form of imagery in their reader’s minds.

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Making you see it

[Telekinetic creative cognitive imagery]

One of the major tasks for a writer is to capture the mind of the reader right at the beginning of the book and to keep that attention throughout, right to the very last word on the final page and even beyond, so that the feeling that the story created remains embedded in the readers mind for ever.

This is what every author seeks, to deliver a memorable, unforgettable story that will be the next global blockbuster, and by doing so win new readers who will seek out the authors other works and be eager for the next new novel to be published.

So here you are, sat at your computer, or typewriter, or poised over your desk with quill in hand ready to start writing the first words of your story….what now?  You know what you want to say, but somehow everything you write seems either poor or overly complicated, and neither deliver your thoughts the way you imagine them yourself.

This is where I find it best to ‘live’ the part, become the scene or character; drive that car, get shot, stabbed, or have a screaming argument with the wife, mistress, boss, or coked-up street junkie. Then use the feelings, the images that you felt and saw while ‘living’ that scene, in short ‘takes’, like each edit in a film clip, to slowly build that small part of your story.

Using this method will allow you to ‘transfer’ much more of your own visual imagery to the reader, remembering that you will only be suggesting and guiding the reader to ‘see’ what you are writing, you will never be able to transfer the precise imagery you have in your mind to another, and even if that were possible it would destroy the very basic reasons for reading in the first instance.

At this point I think I should explain what I refer to as mental imagery.

A mental image is the representation in a person’s mind of the physical world outside of that person. It is an experience that, on most occasions, significantly resembles the experience of perceiving some object, event, or scene, but occurs when the relevant object, event, or scene is not actually present to the senses.

Common examples of mental images include daydreaming and the mental visualization that occurs while reading a book.

According to psychologists and cognitive scientists our experiences of the world are represented in our minds as mental images. These mental images can then be associated and compared with others, and can be used to synthesize completely new images.

Now that is clear, how much detail you add will depend, in part, on whether you are writing a short story or a novel, also much will depend on just how important this particular ‘scene’ is in the chapter or to the entire plot.

As an example I will take the ‘drive that car’ from the above paragraph. In a short story like a flash fiction you will not have time to describe too much detail, (unless the car is the main character or a very pertinent feature). So something along this line would most probably suffice…..

   ‘The car came around the corner at high speed and pulled up next to me. The door opened and he called out my name’.

That short sentence creates just enough imagery for you to transfer your thoughts to the reader as a visual image. That is enough for a very short piece where the writer has to ‘edit’ the work to the length of the story.

However, unless the writer wishes to be vague in this instance, I do not believe that this sentence would be suitable when writing a full length novel where the detail is not only requisite but also allows the writer greater scope for creativity. Therefore I would suggest that the same scene would be written along these lines……

   ‘The black limousine’s tyres squealed as it sped around the corner of Liberty Avenue onto Main Street and headed directly towards the fire hydrant where I was sitting. I knew it would be him, it always was. As the car lurched to a sudden stop next to me the door opened and he called to me.

‘Get in the car now, Sally’ he commanded.

Here I have added just enough detail to transfer a lot more of my own mental imagery to the reader. The reader now knows that the car is a black limo and the speed it was travelling was fast enough to make the tyres squeal. The place (setting) is urban, the street names and the use of the words ‘fire hydrant’ suggest an American city.

In this version the reader is also aware that the character on the sidewalk is female, this was not revealed in the first version.

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The real skill of the writer is to know how much detail is required, to what proportion and in which instances. Many new writers either give far too much detail on irrelevant or less important items, which then detracts from the gist of the work, or not nearly enough which in turn leaves the reader at a loss as to the actual meaning, or content of the work.

The above method works well for ‘scenes’ and ‘action’ sequences. For character description I use a number of various methods to deliver my cast members to my reader’s cognitive conscience.

In my shortest works, like flash fiction, I find that it is not always necessary for any description whatsoever, I often leave the reader to create the characters physical image themselves. In short stories I give just enough detail to outline a characters physical attributes and, or their personality traits, once again leaving a good deal for the readers to create themselves.

In a piece of full length writing I tend to use one of two methods to reveal my characters, the first is what I call the ‘Biographical introduction’, something Stephen King excels at. This is where the character is brought into the story through a lengthy introduction starting at some point in the past and ending when they (the character in question) becomes part of the books plot.

This method allows great detail to be given about any particular character so when they enter the plot the reader is already familiar with their characteristics.

The second, and the method I use most, because most of my stories are character driven, is introduction by ‘drip feed’. This is giving a little of each characters traits a little at a time through a large, if not all of the novel.

I find this method has the effect of the reader ‘getting to know’ the person much as one would do in real life.

Of course a little of both of these methods also works quite well.

At the end of the day it is up to you, the writer and creator of your fantasy world, a world where you are the puppeteer of those characters and the situations they encounter, who has the choice of how you transfer your mindful images into the heads of your readers.

I do hope however, that this rather odd rambling has stimulated you to try to write something in a format that you have not previously done, or at the very least you enjoyed reading my drivel!

Enjoy your day

Paul.

© Paul White 2014

http://paulznewpostbox.wix.com/paul-white-writer

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The Secret Entity

Books, novels, novellas, whatever term you use it does not really matter. Neither does it matter, in this instance, if you are reading a hardcover book, a paperback or even an e-reader. Because this post is about the story that lays within, not the format, the genre or classification of the book.

A story is a most wondrous gift which can be bestowed on anyone. It affords an avenue of escapism from life, from reality. A tale can whisk you away to worlds which do not exist but feel real, feel true as you read and absorb each word on each and every page.

A great story will draw you in, make you part of its netherworld, a place where you can battle the bad guys, or be the bad guy, or girl, or dog or horse… or simply watch, from your lofty viewpoint, all that transpires below.

No matter if you love a twisted plot of dirty deeds, or raunchy romance, fast action with death and destruction, a private detective prying into everyone’s business, or a love and betrayal saga of family and ever-changing fortunes;  as a reader you must consider how the author weaves such magic, how they are able to draw you into their fiction, into their deep mindbending imagination.

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Whether you are laying on a recliner by the pool, soaking up the sun at the beach, or simply curled up in your armchair at home, a book is a magical portal, a gateway to another life, through which you can escape the humdrum of everyday tasks, at least for a while.

When you immerse yourself into a story the mundane evaporates, it disappears into the shadows of forgotten responsibilities, while you become absorbed into your own private world, a world that no other person can ever become part of.

Now, you may find my last statement somewhat beguiling.

Why would I say no other person could possibly enter the same world as you? After all you are reading just one copy, a single edition of a book. Many other people are, or must have, read the same story? They too must have visited this fantastical world you now find yourself in?

WRONG.

Unlike watching the television, a downloaded video, or visiting the cinema where you sit with family and friends watching precisely the same action, hearing the same sounds, the same voices, a book is a far more personal experience.

It is a unique individual encounter.

When you read a story your eyes will be scanning the chains of words which are sequenced by the author. Yet it is not the author who is telling you the story. It is not these chains of words, mere ink blobs on the pages which paint those pictures in your mind. It is not they which lead you from one scene to another.

You see, in between the words there lies an invisible entity.

It is this entity which connects your mind to the authors, no matter how far away they may be in distance or time. Alive or long dead… you will become connected.

It is this which is the true magic of a book.

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Wonderful plays and fantastic films work from the basis of good creative script writing, however, assisting the scriptwriters to deliver the words to an audience, in a manner the will capture their attention are the actors and actresses. Their ability to deliver a speech or to convey dialogue convincingly is a wonderful skill.

Cameramen, directors, special effects, best boy’s and grips… and so on produce the scenes and effects. But that vision, the moving images on the screen and the actor’s voices are not your story; they are the director’s interpretation of the screen-writers construal of the original play, which is based on the television series of the original book written by… whoever it may be.

I prefer a direct connection to the author, one without the intervention of another person’s personal translation being foisted upon me.

Without becoming too technical, I am writing this post in a style far removed from the one I am using to write my novel. The way you are reading this is the way I have deliberately formatted my narration. In this instance as if I am speaking, talking directly to you personally.

In my stories the voice you hear is inside your own head, it may be omnipotent, or it may seem as if one of the characters is speaking, telling you the tale; it depends on how I intend you to hear my story.

I hope I have explained that clearly?

 

The second reason reading a book is such a personal experience is, as you read your mind creates a world so real and so detailed and in such a subjective form, it is only possible for it to exist in your own imagination.

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Take a simple statement:

The long black sedan drew up to the pavement outside the hotel.

Simple?

Yes?

No.

If it were a film I would agree because we would have both seen the same car, drive up to the same hotel, from the same direction, in the same weather conditions, at the same time of day….same….same…same.

However, when you are absorbed into the story of a book, you have to create the car yourself, imagine which direction it is driving, how the daylight reflects from its bodywork, or the lights glint on its polished paintwork as it drives under the portico of the main entrance… oh wait, your hotel did not have a portico? And it was not in a city centre… well, that’s ok, because this is your story and yours alone.

In mine it was night, the car was a dark blue stretched Bentley continental, what make was it in yours?  Was it a stretch, was it blue or black… or white? What time of day, or night did you create for your story? Was it Chauffeur driven?

This is the reason you cannot read the same story as your friends, your mother, sister, brother, uncle, aunt or Little Lord Fauntleroy. You can read the same book, but you can never experience the same story.

Ahh, now you are beginning to understand the true magic of a book, the amazing mystical power of narration.

It is something unique, something no other medium can offer.

Which is why I love the written word, why I love books above and beyond any other form of media for regaling a great story.

It is why I love to write.

Talking about writing… have you read any of my Electric Eclectic novelettes yet?

If not, you are missing a treat; Electric Eclectic novelettes contain an amazing and captivating short story.

Each novelette is written as introductory book so you can experience my writing style, which I hope you will like so much you will then grab more of my books!

With each Electric Eclectic novelette cosing a mere 1.00, you could try two or three, or more, Electric Eclectic authors novelettes, you may even find your ‘next favourite author’ among them. 

I hope so.

Visit the Electric Eclectic website HERE

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