Monday, November 6, 2017

Can You Visualize This?

I can't.

Here's some proof.

A couple of days ago (a few days into November), I realized something strange. I was working on my NaNo project and had accomplished my daily word count goal and had an extra thousand words padding the story. In all I had about 6500 words written.

For the first time in my life, I'd written an outline. This outline consisted of:
- character sheets for my main characters
- a story path for each of my MCs
- a path outline for the story (main outline)
- descriptions of 2 of the main settings in the novel

In all, I had over 6000 words written in preparation to write the story.

Altogether, that's 12 000 or 13 000 words.

As I was writing, I came to a part where my female MC takes off her helmet and tries to fix her hair. And that's when it hit me... I had NO IDEA what my MC looked like.

I didn't know hair colour, length or style. I didn't know her height or build.
I didn't know any of that about my male MC either.

I knew them as people but I wouldn't have recognized them on the street.
Of course, not recognizing people on the street is a special talent I have...

How about you? Are you a visual person? Do you know what your characters look like?

22 comments:

  1. As an artist, I have no choice but to know what my characters look like, haha. I still have a hard time visualizing them initially, though. It isn't until I have a character design figured out on paper that I can properly see 'em in my head...which sometimes takes months. So...I'm halfway a visual person, I guess? LOL.

    Even though you stumbled onto this roadblock while writing, I think all the progress you've made for NaNo in general so far is amazing! Hopefully figuring out how your MCs look won't be too much of a struggle for you...

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    1. I think you're more than half visual - your creations are fabulous! :)
      It helps when I know the ethnic background for the characters (which I do) so I go from there & make stuff up :)

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  2. Congratulations on all of your progress!

    I only know what my series characters look like, since I've written them for years. Suspects, victim, killer? I wouldn't recognize them, either. I refer to a sheet to see how I described them when I fill that layer in. :) I wouldn't even worry about it during this draft...hit that in draft 2.

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    1. That's great advice! I think I'll do that :)

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  3. That's awesome progress! Looks like the outline is helping.
    I do know exactly what my characters look like before I begin. Describing them - that's another story.

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    1. You're so right! There's a whole lot of difference between knowing and describing! :)

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  4. I generally know what my characters look like in my head, but I find I rarely describe them in my writing. I rarely go into any physical detail about characters when I write, I don't know why that is. But I know what they look like!
    And I'll second what Elizabeth said above: great progress, keep it up!

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    1. Thanks! I am the worst at adding descriptive details - probably because it just doesn't matter to me :)

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  5. So great that you've made so much progress and that the outline is helping. I have a general idea of what my characters look like in my head. It's easily fixable for you. You've already got so much of it planned out. You just need to add this detail.

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    1. I'm very happy with the outline so far! And you're right - it's not much to add

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  6. Congrats on your progress.

    I always find pictures of celebrities that look like my characters, so I have a good grasp of what they look like.

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    1. That's a good idea! I should try that :)

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  7. I kind of back into their physical descriptions unless there's a specific characteristic that's crucial to the story. Maybe I should equip them all with helmets, then when they whip it off to adjust their hair, I could take a moment to "see" them. Good luck on your NaNo!

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    1. That's exactly what happened - and no image :P

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  8. I usually have a general idea of what my characters look like, like hair color, skin tone, eye color. Usually at some point I draw my characters, or find a pic that looks like them.

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    1. Good ideas! I never thought of sketching ... mine would be more cartoon-y as that's more my strength but it might work :)

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  9. Drawing is part of my writing process- so I am visual. After I outline or get my ideas together for a story or chapter I start sketching and drawing. It really helps me get to know my characters and the time it takes me to draw (a few hours to a whole day) help the story sink in. :)
    ~Jess

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  10. I had to laugh. No recognizing people on the street is my talent too. I think character description is far less important than character personality. It's also easier to fix if one happens to forget all about it ;)

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  11. Hi Jemi,

    Once I wrote an accident scene. I had to draw the position of the car and where the passengers would be to write it realistically.

    I hope this answers your question.

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  12. Wonderful progress, Jemi. It sounds like your characters are going to tell you what they look like as their story unfolds.

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  13. It sounds like you are rocking NaNo! Well done!

    A lady in my critique group does a binder with photos of people who would play her characters. I've done character sketches, but I think i'm going to do the binder like she does. Like you said putting a face to your character helps you know them better.

    I'm not doing NaNo this year. I have too many almost done projects to work on a new one. :)

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