Or why books are great …
I love my imagination! It serves two purposes. The first is to give me almost all the material I need to write my stories, and the second is to enable me to visualise the characters and worlds from other authors’ books that I read.
An author creates a story to take us on a journey, but it is the reader’s imagination that brings the story to life. Watching something on the television, or going to the movies, we’re spoon-fed someone else’s vision of what the characters/places in our favourite books actually look like. I can’t recall my imaginings of a character having ever matched the TV show/movie character representation. Sometimes that spoils the show for me, especially if they’re quite different to how I imagined them.
In my Angel Series, to get my readers to use their imagination, I try not to name the cities or countries where most of the action occurs. If you happen to live in an area where there’s a forest a few hundred kilometres away, I want you to think that what you’re reading could be happening in your own backyard. I want you to feel that you’re involved in my book — a part of it. The same goes for my characters, although I do need to provide you with some detail, or your imagination has nothing to work with! Look at it this way, between the two of us, we’re brainstorming our way through my books — my words, your imagination.
Admittedly there are times when I try not to leave anything to the imagination. For example, if a character that has meant a lot to me is going to die, I want to give them the send-off they deserve. I want you to feel sad — to feel the same anguish I do — as my much-loved character dies. Hopefully, if I’ve captured the essence of the scene, your reaction will be just as I planned it.
Television and movies are still great for a ‘quick fix’, or when you really don’t want to put any effort in. They’re even good to determine if you want to read the book that the TV show/movie was adapted from. Yes, I know that quite often the two deviate, but it should give you a general feel for the book … unless of course it’s a terrible TV show/movie!
Has your imagination had a workout recently? What TV show/movie adaptation made you pick up the book it was based on? What TV show/movie were you put off by, because it didn’t match your ideal of the book?