The Picture in My Head

I’ve found it interesting that throughout the past few years I’ve been seriously writing, I’ve heard many ways in which people get the words onto the page. I never gave this much thought until a few years ago.

Back around ’06 I went with my wife to see Jodi Picoult speak about a new book that was coming out. After her reading she did a Q&A with us and someone asked about how she gets her ideas. Without hesitation she said that voices just come to her and she writes what they are saying. The characters are real people within her mind and tell her their story. She channels that and *boom* she has a novel.

Now in ANY other realm of work this would be chalked up to her being crazy or having a multiple personality disorder. Not in the writing world! In our sandbox, she’s making bank.

I’ve heard many others since that day speak about how they write and here I am throwing my method out there too. For everything I’ve ever written, I literally have a movie playing in my head. I can see my characters moving along the streets of New York or fumbling in a lab. Of course some places are real locations I’ve been to but that just adds to the realism of the motion picture of my mind. It’s a theatre of one.

Spirit Hackers was all visual and Loopback is following in the exact same way. I don’t know if writers change methods depending on the book they’re writing but for me, I like my cozy, private screening where the food is free and no cell phones are going off.

So what’s your writing method? You hearing voices in your head or talking to invisible people? Perhaps your private theatre is across the street from mine. Let’s hear it!


  1. I’m more like you, Aaron. My characters don’t “talk” to me so much, though bits and pieces of who they are bubble up periodically. But for the most part, I “see” my scenes in my head. When I need to know what comes next, I close my eyes and try to play it out.

    Unfortunately, the movie doesn’t come fully formed, but then I guess it wouldn’t be any work!

    1. It’s great to know another person who’s visual like I am! I also think it’s how my characters do things that I don’t expect because the ‘movie’ goes off in its own direction sometimes. I wish the movie came fully formed but if it wasn’t any work, it would be no fun! 🙂

  2. I’m the same way. I visualize everything so I just have to document what I see. That’s the same reason I’m usually okay if I don’t write something down the second I think of it because I can SEE it. I have a good memory and it’s fairly easy for me to remember these pictures.

    1. See the scenes don’t come to me when doing other things so the movie plays only when I’m writing. Your method is grat for remembering things even when you can’t write them down. Very cool. 🙂

  3. A scene or a story concept bounces through my head and I write it down in my little black Moleskin. Then, when it is time to write, I start at the beginning and try to reach the scene or concept that dangles out in front of me.

    I love this writing sandbox. I love the castles we build.

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