Writing the Pictures in Your Mind

By Cameron Raynes

How important is visualisation to the writer? To be able to see, in some small strange way, the characters you have created, the places they live, the things they do? How they hold themselves? How others around them react to what they do?
For the great American writer, Joan Didion, it was vital. She wrote:
“The arrangement of the words matters, and the arrangement you want can be found in the picture in your mind. The picture dictates the arrangement. The picture dictates whether this will be a sentence with or without clauses, a sentence that ends hard or a dying-fall sentence, long or short, active or passive. The picture tells you how to arrange the words and the arrangement of the words tells you, or tells me, what’s going on in the picture.
“It tells you.
“You don’t tell it.”
In ‘Shaping Stories’ we will look at imagery in films and novels, and how to use the pictures in your mind to shape the way you write.
See you on Saturday, 30 August. Don’t forget to bring:

  • • a short synopsis (one page is fine) of a novel or story you are working on
  • • at least one page of a work-in-progress – one that preferably includes interaction (and dialogue) between characters.

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