I know writers read differently. We can’t NOT read like a writer. Barring any typos or bad sentence structure, we are more attuned to development of the plot, how the twists are woven within the storyline, how the story moves along, etc. Each book gets some sort of mental critique. I’ve touched on it in a past blog post at some point but this post really isn’t about what we read.
This blog post is about what we, as writers, see and the stimulus it can have on the imagination: movies, television, and, that biggest picture of all: Life.
Everyone has an imagination. ESPECIALLY writers. My imagination runs on high most of the time. Great if you’re thinking about a story, horrible if you’re trying to make a decision. Too many pros, cons, and what ifs pop into my head resulting in me either writing them down on a list so that I can have a visual focus, or, failing that, to call on a trusted friend and talk it out.
Then you add to the fact that writers are observers. To be honest, I hate shopping. I’m a make my list, point me in the right direction, pick it up and go type of person. And malls? Forget it. Once in a while though, one, or several, of my friends will talk me into going with them “only to grab a couple of things” which, to my amazement can take HOURS. I acquiesce but then as we pass the Starbucks kiosk, they understand as I wave goodbye and send them off to “pick up their couple of things” as I go and sit, making myself comfortable in the seating area. I’ll have my Frappuccino in hand, sipping to avoid a brain freeze, and just — watch. Love, LOVE doing that. Observing is fuel for an imagination.
The only time I can say my imagination is quiet is at the movies. Last weekend, I sat in the movie theatre waiting for the premiere show to begin. Commercials and previews passed across the screen; still I couldn’t help but look around, surveying the people and surroundings. But, once the movie starts, I’m absorbed by the sights and sounds which capture and hold every particle of my senses. If you’re home watching movies or television shows, the mind wanders and wonders. Too many distractions: The dog needs to go out, the phone rings, notifications from Facebook or Twitter, or even random conversation from the person sitting next to me. Only at the theatres can I shut it all off.
So, what silences or sparks your imagination; is there anything that ever puts it on pause where you accept the story for what it’s worth – no, “what ifs”?
As writers, our minds work differently. We feel and look at things differently; we can change the course of imagined events in an instant in our heads. Isn’t it great? I can’t think of any other profession I’d rather be in. And, no one can understand us any better than another writer. Writing sometimes pushes me to 3:00 or 4:00 a.m., then I grab a few hours’ sleep before I head out to my day job at 8:30. There’s not too many moments when my mind isn’t on writing or marketing. My friends, family, they hear me say that and I get the “what is wrong with you” stare. Say that to another writer and it’s “yea, I pulled one of those the other night.”
So, what if? Gosh, don’t you just love that phrase? What better defines imagination?
When you look at a mountain, do you see just a mountain? Wonder who the people were that have traversed that mountain over time. What if you saw a plume of smoke coming from the trees, not a steady plume but one that looks to be a signal? What if you saw the treetops begin to shake one by one on a downward path? What if at the peak of the mountain there is an overhang? How many souls have stood there in awe at the wonder of our beautiful planet; leapt off in agony over a lost love; or, pushed off by a villain? What If…?
Artists may say a picture is worth a thousand words. I say a picture is worth a thousand stories.