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Thread: How do you imagine the story when you read?

  1. #1
    Hooked on Manga
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    How do you imagine the story when you read?

    Sorry, my title might be a bit vague. I didn't want to make it too long.

    Here's what I'm trying to ask; when you read a story -- fiction, nonfiction, historical, it doesn't matter what kind -- how do you imagine the story?

    For example, when I read, I imagine the story in my head/mind. I imagine it similar to a movie.

    But, when I imagine the story in my minds eye, I don't go into detail, but it still comes out as detailed. Confused? Me too.

    When I read, I imagine the characters with faces, and facial expressions, and clothes. BUT, when I stop reading, if I try to envision the character, I can't do it!

    I guess, when I read, I let my brain process the words, and then my brain gives my mind's eye an image while I read. But, when I stop reading, my brain stops providing me with the images.

    I read, but I don't think about what I read. I believe that I let my subconscious provide me with the details. Unfortunately, since it's my SUBconsciousness, i can't access it just by thinking about it.

    AH! I UNDERSTAND!! It must be my subconsciousness that helps me envision the story! I finally understand!

    Oh, you guys don't really get it?

    Well, I guess when I read, it's like I'm dreaming. And when you dream, everything feels real, everything is right there in glorious, fantastical (or terrifying) detail. But, when you wake up, you can't remember what happened in your dream very well. I realize now that that's exactly what happens to me! When I stop reading I can't clearly picture the main character, but when I read, the characters are there in all their glory.

    WARNING! THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPHS ARE UNCONTROLLABLE RANTINGS THAT I ACCIDENTALLY TYPED BEFORE REALIZING HOW OFF TOPIC I WAS GETTING.

    THERE'S NOT REALLY ANY REASON TO READ FURTHER,
    but feel free to if you want.

    I get very emotional when I read. I've cried countless times, and I've laughed so many more. I FEEL the story when I read it. I don't imagine myself in the story, but I FEEL the emotions, I FEEL the atmosphere, the grimness or the hilarity. That's why I love reading so much. I feel my best when I'm reading. I'm happiest when I read, because the AURA of the book is happiness, or if the AURA the book gives is sadness I'm terribly sad when I read it, to the point of tears or frustration.

    Sometimes, I'll even mix up what I've read in fictional stories as being real memories of my own. I might talk to a friend and mention that I spent a lot of time on a pirate ship (the Jacky Faber stories) but then realize that that's NOT my real memory.

    While reading the Jacky Faber stories, I started to fret about what might happen to Jacky, as she gets into A LOT of trouble. At one point, I worried myself so much over some idea that came into my head while reading that I stopped reading the book for weeks. I just couldn't read anymore because I thought that Jacky was going to die. I couldn't bring myself to read about her death, because that meant that I would have to accept it. I even became pretty mad at the author! How could he do this her?!?

    Eventually, I literally got depression because of how worried I was. And I don't mean I was in a state of melancholy, I mean I was into the real full-blown depression (I get depression every now and then). And if you've ever had the REAL, hardcore depression before, you know that there's no way you could mistake depression for anything less than the worst state of mind you could have.

    The reason I finished reading the Jacky Faber book (she didn't die! THANK GOD!) is because I felt so horrible that I couldn't take it anymore. I decided that I might as well read the book and see what happens. *At that point, I think I really believed that Jacky was going to die*

    That fixed up my depression real nice. Well, not really, I was still feeling terrible for a long time after that, but it got me out of the *because the sunset is so beautiful it literally hurts me* funk that I was in.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is, that when I read a story, it almost becomes my reality. I don't put myself in the characters shoes, rather, I become the characters, I become the story.

    That's why I like reading so much. I don't just see a story, I am the story, and the story is me.

    What about you guys? I'm not the only one who's subconscious tells me stories am I? Uh, did that make me sound a little crazy?

    Thanks.
    Ever wonder if your dreams would make a good story?

  2. #2
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    I started reading the Harry Potter series to my children (even my adult children would come over and listen). After the third, everyone's schedules were off in different directions and I told them that they could read them for themselves.

    They complained because I do the voices. Yes, if a story is well told, I see it, I go to the places, am apart of the story, meet and get to know the characters and experience it.

    My response was, "Can't you hear the voices in your head." To which my second oldest daughter replied, "Well, you let the cat out of that bag!"

    Personally I do not have the difference when I stop reading. Once I've gotten to know a place a character, etc. they are as detailed while I'm reading as when I'm not. I haven't read Great Expectations in years, but I still see Pip and Joe as clear as day and hear their voices.

    ~L
    I'd rather have questions that I can't answer than answers that I can't question.

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    Registered User virginiawang's Avatar
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    I never sank into a story the way you did, but I always felt a story for quite a long time after I read it. I only had feelings for the story, but I never saw characters as I saw people in a movie. I was quite amazed by your description of your reading experience.
    Last edited by virginiawang; 07-25-2009 at 10:25 AM.

  4. #4
    Reader plainjane's Avatar
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    Interesting question, and something I have not analyzed, so this may be rather rambling, and/or incoherent.

    I try to totally immerse myself in the story and while not becoming one of the characters, I do attach myself as a shadow to each character, but it isn't a crisp or clear picture. I see the whole thing in sort of an impressionistic haze and become one with the story.

    That of course is the ideal, and the time when it doesn't matter what is going on around me, I'm oblivious to anything external. The smell of burning bacon will eventually sift through to my consciousness. Eventually.

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    Quote Originally Posted by plainjane View Post
    Interesting question, and something I have not analyzed, so this may be rather rambling, and/or incoherent.

    I try to totally immerse myself in the story and while not becoming one of the characters, I do attach myself as a shadow to each character, but it isn't a crisp or clear picture. I see the whole thing in sort of an impressionistic haze and become one with the story.

    That of course is the ideal, and the time when it doesn't matter what is going on around me, I'm oblivious to anything external. The smell of burning bacon will eventually sift through to my consciousness. Eventually.
    I get like that, too sometimes when I am really into reading something...all kinds of things could be going on around me and I wouldn't know a thing. I used to be like that all the time, but I've tried to be a bit more conscious of my surroundings. Still, some books pull me in to that depth still.

    ~L
    I'd rather have questions that I can't answer than answers that I can't question.

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    I too get immersed in a story to such an extent that I would be wishing for a character to not die (as in Eragon...where Oromis dies). Having said that, I never did go into depression though. I have felt the sudden rise in my heartbeat's volume and maybe even experienced my heart "sinking", but it never did last for more than an hour or two. Sometimes, while reading stories with happy endings, my whole mood turns joyous.

    On topic: While reading a story, I too see it as a movie. I am able to visualize each and every character when I'm not reading it though. It was like certain people with certain names would have different characteristics. Not to be stereotypical or anything but usually, if the name Jeffrey is in question, I would imagine him with a long beard or if a character was named John, he would be blonde and so on. Well, thats just my perception of how I visualize stories.
    Some story's plot are described in such depth that imagining it surpasses difficult. Its as if too many details enfeebles the mind and I usually can't imagine the scenery.

  7. #7
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    Talking I remember the discussion between

    Belle and Gaston ( Beauty and the beast )

    ,,How can you read this? There's no pictures.

    Well Gaston , some people use their imagination ."

    Sometimes you really need a bit of imagination .

  8. #8
    I am a dream of a dreamer Lacra's Avatar
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    Nice topic.
    I don't really know if I imagine the story like a movie in my mind. I don't think so. Because the movie usually gives me strong clues and doesn't allow me to analyze too much, and , also is too concentrated. When I read a story I get actively involved and I may come back to same pages... My spirit moves with the characters, but doesn't become part of the book, just follows them, gets along with them, judges them, predicts different scenaries.
    I love the stories with rich intertextuality. My brain loves to connect the story with similar texts. If the story fits my personality, I read it periodically and every time I get different feelings, details ( may be is connected to my mood while I am reading the same text ).
    Be great in act, as you have been in thought.
    William Shakespeare

  9. #9
    the beloved: Gladys's Avatar
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    When I read I become several characters at once, each assessing what is said or is happening. I remember conversation and events as though I were there, as in real-life interactions, rather than as a movie.

    My conscious mind is busy enough interpreting happenings without the need for additional subconscious contributions.
    "Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself"

  10. #10
    Pirate! Katy North's Avatar
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    For me it's not exactly a lucid thought process...

    When I read I become the words. I think better in words than I do in images. Odd, I know, but also strangely imaginative. I become the characters and narrator at the same time, and I ask questions about the story from both perspectives... how would I react if I were this character? If I was observing this character what would my opinion of them be?

    To me, objects are easily interchangeable with words. I am so used to reading, and so comfortable with it, that seeing and reading can sometimes be the same thing. This is actually a help when imagining metaphors... "Times Winged chariot" becomes "carpe diem" becomes flying horses pulling a chariot with an over-sized clock set into it becomes a hand grasping the word "day".

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