You’re Imagination and You
Whether you are an avid reader of books or an avid listener of plays on radio, undeniably, your imagination works overtime conjuring up in your mind what the characters you have been introduced to may look like.
The same is true from the point of view of the writer. Whether I’m writing a short story or a novel length work, in the back of my mind I have a mental vision of each character, no matter what mood they may be in in any given set of circumstances. The hard part is to convey that image of those characters to the reader.
In my own case I attempt to do it by their actions and reactions, their moods, their environment, and their interaction with the other characters inhabiting the page alongside them at the time. To be believable, your characters have to almost appear to be alive in your mind, and that of your reader.
When I was growing up I spent countless thousands of hours with my head buried in a book. Most excellently written books do not contain illustrations, meaning the author leaves it up to you to ‘picture’ the scene in your mind. This is all to the good.
These days however, there is a tendency among the growing number of lazy adult readers of this world to demand books be crammed with pictures. Where’s the fun in that?
Picture books are for small children! Having everything laid out before your eyes, leaving nothing to the imagination, is to my mind – nothing short of criminal.
A well-conceived cover picture on a paperback or the dust jacket of its more expensive cousin the hardback is one thing, but to want to have each bend in the story illustrated to within an inch of its life defeats the whole purpose and experience of reading.
Reading is a cerebral pleasure, designed to relax and divert you. Don’t insult writers, by demanding that the books you want be filled with illustrations. Yes I’m talking to you! For those lazy adults among you, I repeat myself just once more – picture books are for kids.
Be brave and adult about it when you next visit your nearest bookstore. Pick up a book full of text. Buy it and take it home. Sit back and open it to page one. Then for a few hours, experience the joyous delight of exercising your imagination.
Take it from me, it’s a wonderful feeling.