Thinking in pictures

Posted: August 14, 2013 in Uncategorized
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I’ve always been a visual person. At school the teachers would put comments in my reports ‘highly imaginative’ or ‘she has an active and strong imagination’. Of course I’ve thought about those comments over the years, but much more in recent months.

Something has changed to make me fully use my imagination and it’s like anything, the more you practice the better you get. In the last 6 months I’ve been writing my second novel, which I’m proud to say has been accepted by John Hunt Publishing. It’s currently ‘in production’, and I’ve been doing my bit and giving it one more edit before it goes to copy editing. Hopefully, it will be out before the end of the year.

But let’s return to the imagination. The way people write is very individualistic. Some writers like to painstakingly plot their plot, character by character, situation by situation. I like to write like I’ve always done and that’s kicking myself up to that place where I think in pictures. It’s really like being an external player and watching a movie take place. Once I’m in that semi trance like state and I’ve set the story flowing, I then ‘channel’ the characters.

I do a lot of professional writing and have been trained classically, I suppose, both through university (I took writing, English and Communications majors) and through my career. I’ve been trained as a journalist (particularly as a feature writer), and I’ve written for government for many years too – anything from complex policy documents and research papers, through to speeches and Ministerial briefings. Opposite ends of the spectrum really, but with one thing in common, and that is the writing is highly organised and structured.

My novel writing may be free flowing to a certain extent, but it is also structured as well. The difference is that somehow I’m able to combine my imagination which takes me to different places, times, and situations, with an intellectual ability to structure at the same time.

Whatever the process is that I follow – and I don’t truly understand it myself, I am thankful for it – it works for me. And digging up the fertility of my imagination has been an absolute joy in recent months.

It’s almost like I’ve come out of the closet and accepted my weird and wonderful imagination, and that I think in pictures that exist in their own world, my world. I heard someone say today that ‘whatever you are born with, it will come out’. I was born with an active and strong imagination, and I’m so glad I was – for better or for worse, but mostly it is for the better now.


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