Do You WANT Inside My Head?

Perla's hatI have a Pinterest board for each of my novels. The one for Miracle in a Dry Season, for example, includes dresses Perla might have worn. I also have pictures of Casewell’s truck and some examples of the kind’s of woodwork he might have done. I find this helps me as I’m writing.

When I come to a place in the book where a character climbs into a car and drives away, I want to know what the car looks like. When I write that Perla’s wearing “a scrap of a hat” I wonder what that might look like. Sometimes, I can’t keep writing until I KNOW. Pinterest is great for relieving that tension in my own head.

And maybe, once the book is out, readers will get a kick out of seeing what I was picturing. But I wonder . . .

A big part of the pleasure of reading for me is in imagining what’s being described. I can SEE characters, settings, and situations based on the author’s description. And seeing an actual photograph might spoil MY impression.

Have you ever listened to someone on the radio and then been surprised when you saw a picture of him? We’d listened to Chip Ingram for years and then saw him in person and . . . it was downright distracting. I kept thinking, but he’s not that tall and his hair should be lighter.

So what do you think? Do you like peeking at the images in an author’s head? Or would you rather come up with your own?

5 thoughts on “Do You WANT Inside My Head?

  1. Generally, I’d rather see a novel in my own head. The thing I like least are pictures of what the author thinks characters might look like – in the guise of current actors.

    That can flat-out ruin a book for me.

    There are some things that can be served – the dresses you mentioned, for instance.

    In my WIP, “Magic Dragon”, I will probably have to Pin a reference to “Puff the Magic Dragon” in its Viet Nam context. Ditto for the ‘orphan plane’ crash on April 4, 1975. The latter has receded enough in our collective memory that it needs refreshment.

    But no ‘character’ pictures!

    Well, maybe one…

    • My problem with character photos is that I can never find one that quite matches what’s in my head. Perla looks a bit like Grace Kelly in her less glamorous moments, but it’s still not quite right.

  2. I’d rather go with my own imagination (most of the time) and find it irritating when I discover in the second or third book of a series that the main character is of a different race than I had thought! Now when it comes to other than common names, I would rather have an indication of the proper pronunciation.

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