Lola’s Ramblings is a feature on my blog Lola’s Reviews where I ramble on about a book related or a non-book related topic. These are discussion type of posts where I talk about a topic and readers can weigh in on the topic in the comments. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like tours, cover reveals, memes, challenges, recaps or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are discussions of a certain topic and my point of view on them. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Designs.
Today I want to talk about how I visualize things when reading. This topic is partly inspired by a post I read about how some people aren’t able to visualize and a comment on a post about covers and visualizing characters. This made me think it would be an interetsing topic to talk about.
How I visuzalize
When I am reading a book I have very strong images in my head, it’s almost like watching a movie in your head and I see things play out before me. So yes I do visualize while reading. I think this is part of why I prefer settings I like to those I don’t as in my head I see that setting and I rather see something that’s appealing than something that isn’t. It’s also part of the reason why I like readings book with settings I haven’t read about as it gives me something new to visualize.
How I visualize settings, places and the world
Settings or worlds are the things I visualize best. I could probably draw or describe exactly how the house and small town in Burying Water looks like or how the house in Dream On Amber looks a bit like the house were I grew up in, the rooms are all on the same place, but the inside of the rooms does look different.
Sometimes these images stay close to what is being described in the book, the less descriptions there are the more freedom for my mind to come up with my own idea. Sometimes this is a good thing to have the freedom to imagine things however I want to. Although in general I prefer it when an author describes enough of the setting, house etc so I can form an image based on the descriptions. Sometimes it’s more of a feeling than an exact immage, especially for larger things like town, like small cozy, with lots of trees and small buildings than an exact image.
With houses or settings where many scenes take place I form a stronger image in my head. After the first scene in a certain location or world I often have a bit of a vague image with a few clearer details and the feel of the place. After the first few scenes the image in my head is pretty much set in stone, although with addition details or descriptions I can add some details or change things a bit. I think that what is described in the first scenes we hear about a building or locataion has the most impact. Like in Dream on Amber it was said they each had their own room, but that it was an appartment building was only mentioned later, so then they already had their own front door and garden in my visualized image of their house. It reminded me a bit of my youth so I drew on the image of the house I grew up in, but changed how the room themselves looked.
How I visualize characters
I find characters harder to visualize than settings and places. Often I have a vague image for a character. Sometimes the clothing or expressions are very clear, sometimes I feel how someone looks like, but if I had to explain or draw it, I get nothing. Sometimes having a cover model helps, but usually I prefer to not have a model on the cover so I can come up with my own image based on the descriptions in the book. Especially in case where the cover model doens’t fit the descriptions.
Another weird things is that once I have a certain image it doesn’t matter how mnay times it’s mentioned things look different I stay with my initial image. For an example of how cover images sometimes influence my image of a character, the cover for Daemons in the Mist pretty much gave me my image for Nualla, but Travis and Patrick look different in my head than on the cover. I hate Travis his expression and face on the cover as in my head his face looks very different. I can’t explain how exactly, but it’s just not right how he looks on the cover, even though both the cover and my image fit the description in the book. Often it’s more a feel than an exact image and I know the cover doesn’t look like him, but I can’t explain what is wrong. Then there was Patrick his best friend, Connor, who apparantly was darked skinned. I read over that the first few times so he was white in my head and then in a later book I suddenly read his skin was dark and I was all huh how did that happen. So yeah sometimes I just read over character descriptions and make up my own image regardless of the image.
If I see the movie based on a book the model who plays a certain character ofter overrides my initial image of the characetr, which is why I don’t like watching movies. I know my image of Harry Potter didn’t completely fit how he looked in the movie, but after seeing the movie I lost my own image. On the other hand watching the movie first can help a lot when visualizing characetrs and settings. I read the first star wars book and knowing how everyone looked in the movies meant I immediately already had a good image of everything and the descriptions weren’t even necessary. I could perfectly visualize how they looked and how their expressions were.