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Visualizing Characters
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The subject came up on a discussion board -- how do you visualize characters when you write about them? As people you know? As actors/actresses?

Thinking about it, I realized that when I'm writing I have in my mind only a cursory physical image of my characters. Probably I have a clearer psychological picture of each. That may be because I'm trying to put myself in the place of the characters, trying to react to their world as they do, rather than observing them as if they were actors in a movie. At least I try not to be watching them, because I think you get a better effect if you filter as much of your story as possible through the eyes of the characters.

Then again, maybe that is a much too literary an explanation. How strongly aware are we, most of the time, of the physical appearance of friends and family we know well? Either when we think of them or when we are with them. Their appearance is there certainly but the image I have of them is much more than just a physical description, and also much less concrete. Is there a danger in getting to know your characters so well you forget to describe them for readers?

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