Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I'm a make-believer

I love this song. I'm not sure what Timo Maas was thinking about when he wrote this, but to me, it's about being a writer.

I'm a make-believer.

I don't just think up strange new worlds and characters and stories when I'm writing; I'm also a daydreamer. When I daydream, I see the world in my head, like a scene from a movie. There's no awkward dialogue, no gushy character descriptions, no ME intruding in the story. Perhaps this is my muse at her best.

When I write, I don't see the scene in my mind's eye, I just write. I'm not visualising the way a scene gets played out, that step seems to get missed between the process of thinking about what I will write and actually writing it. I'm beginning to wonder if I'm missing a critical step.

I know I'm becoming a better writer with practise. If I wasn't I would be worried. But my writing is still not as fluid as a daydream. I think the time it takes me to get a scene down is hindering the flow, and I've begun to wonder if I just took a step back, paused before I began typing, and tried to visualise the scene as a whole, see it before writing it, maybe it would be a better scene.

I'm revising a scene at the moment which has given me a few problems. My main character has just entered a strange world with an even stranger companion and she has a lot of questions. I want those questions to come out in a logical order without the answers sounding like info-dump, and my characters staying true to themselves. I've started trying to visualise this scene.

So far I've struggled to get the whole way through (it becomes a long scene in my head!) but it's helping me to know my characters better, and to know what they each would say in this situation. Once I've get that, I'll write it, and hopefully the disconnect between brain and fingers will be cured, and I'll have a smoother, more realistic scene.

Do you see your scenes when you write them? Or do you just write? And please tell me I'm not the only daydreamer around here! :)


  1. Oh I love that you actually act the scene as well! You're scenes must be very clean when you write them :)

  2. I'm a visual writer - I see the scene in my head, and sometimes find my hand acting out some of the scenery... funny I know.

  3. lol, i know i said that i would be a way from the Blog/Twitter world for a couple of days, but i folded. Anyway had to reply.

    I see the scene in a book like a movie, or sometimes the way i want to feel as i read it..

    The last plot i was playing with i saw a 10 second snapshot in a dream. Funny how that happens.

    but yes i day dream a lot and a lot of that works into my writing. I play the situation out in my head until i can see the way the character is puffing out her cheeks and know exactly what she is going to say and how. They i try it a different way.

    I am trying however to start doing this process in writing. I am of the opinion that a lot of this day dreaming i do with my characters is me avoiding writing. I am trying to grab a scratch pad, or more recently my Ipad and write the scene in shorthand or notes. Stop half way through and start again at the beginning while keeping the original bit and just keep writing it out. That way i am getting used to the writing part not just the day-dreaming. I can't then just cut and paste into the novel i am forced to rewrite it. this is making me write and write and write.

    However nothing stops this day dreaming process in bed :-)


  4. I daydream constantly. My boyfriend doesn't understand how I can be content laying in bed with no TV or music or laptop to hold my attention. It's because I've got whole worlds in my mind to entertain myself with.

    But I have similar problems with not visualizing the scene AS I'm writing it. I visualize it the night before or a few days after, but never while I'm actually writing it. I'm going to have to work on that.

  5. I daydream all the time, usually about my characters, LOL. When I'm staring into space with a glazed look on my face and my hubby asks what I'm looking at, my response is often, "Thinking about my story" or "Writing in my head." I totally visualize some scenes before I write them or I visualize scenes as I'm writing them. Everything of the surroundings becomes part of that scene in my head, and can be mentioned or add to the scene as I'm writing. I don't consciously plan that stuff--it happens as I write. For example, if my characters are traveling and stopped in the middle of a field, then sometimes I'll find one of the characters pulling up grass as she's talking, or twirling a flower around in her hand, and then some paragraphs later, she'll tickle the other character with it. I don't think I've written that in particular, but this is the kind of thing that happens. In my head, I have a picture of what's there, and then all the pieces sort of click together--world, characters, surroundings, etc.--as I'm writing it.

  6. I'm not really a daydreamer, but I do get flashes of "scenes." Visuals only. I never get get dialogue with any of this. Mostly, my life is too chaotic with 3 kids to ever just have time to sit and think about what's going to happen. That's not to say that, especially in the evenings, my wife doesn't catch me with "what are you thinking about?" and all I have as a response is "writing."

  7. I absolutely see them, to the point where I've wondered if I'm better off writing screenplays, lol. If anything, the stories I can really "see" always turn out the best.

  8. I'm a huge daydreamer, and I totally get what you mean about it being hard to translate the dream into words. I see it so perfectly, yet I somehow get in my own way when I'm writing it down. I usually have to go through a chapter a few times before it makes sense to anyone but me.

  9. I'm a daydreamer too. It might be a synonym for writer? I typically try to visualize the scene, but sometimes, it just flows without thinking much about it. As I revise though, I'm seeing parts of author intrusion. It would be interesting to keep a journal of my writing progress that included how I felt when writing. Maybe I could correlate the author intrusion to a specific habit.

  10. It's strange but I don't visualize anything when I read or write. It doesn't play in my head like a movie but I still make sense of everything that's going on and 'see' it. That probably doesn't make any sense to anyone else, but that's the way it is.

  11. When I daydream, I see pictures, but there's always a word narration to go along with it, or else my mind goes blank and the picture just starts to freak out and twitch and stuff. (I'm just that cool. *rolls eyes*) Sometimes I see my scenes, but vaguely. . . I guess I'll have to start thinking more about seeing them. Great points!

  12. Yes, I see my scenes as well. and i'm ALWAYS daydreaming, esp. as I work full time & can't write during work time :P

  13. I think it depends on the scene for me. Most of the time the scene is happening in my head and I'm trying to type fast enough to catch up to it. And then I pause, rewind, and go back to add details that I had overlooked the first time. Sometimes it changes in my head, sometimes it's the same.
    But, looking back to my last project, it has been all in my head, like watching a movie or something.
    Interesting blog post!

  14. I see it in my head usually (not always, sometimes only after I've written it can I picture it properly) but sadly it isn't as smooth as a film, I can see the setting and people but the dialogue needs more effort. 

  15. Carolina_Valdez_MillerJanuary 20, 2012 at 9:02 PM

     You're not the only daydreamer ;)

    But I think when writing, few people will see a scene fluidly, at least in its entirety. It's all a part of the process. Revision at its finest. Working out the kinks until it turns into something that feels fluid as film. Some scenes come more easily than others, but usually it's through revision that it turns into something smooth.

  16.  Definitely! I love seeing scenes in my head and often find it really helpful, but I think it sometimes leads to writing that is too movie-like, like writing action and dialogue but not the thoughts behind them. It's funny, but your advice to me on this is what always sticks with me, about making sure the character is living the events and not just narrating them like movie action.