Writing When You’re a Visual Person by VIvienne Ylang

Hello Scibblers!  It’s Saturday and Vivienne Ylang is blogging on the Scribes.  J Monkeys is taking a sabbatical for the summer starting now and has asked me to fill in for her until the cold New England weather leaves and comes back again.  So Hi!  I’m thrilled to be here. 

I’ve been working on Sometimes, a time-travel romance, for a while now and I’m DETERMINED to finish it over the next few months.  All of the plotting, planning, character building has been done.  It’s time to put my backside in the seat and write.  This week, I finished reading through the bit that I’ve got done so far. Today I began the next section.  I wrote all of one sentence and realized that one of my characters was heading outside to learn to fight with a sword, but I had no idea what she would be wearing.  My schedule today only gave me an hour to focus on Sometimes.  I spent nearly the whole time Googling. 

I know, I know…write – don’t procrastinate with “research”.  I hear ya.  But honestly, I’m a visual person.  If I can’t see it, I can’t write it.  Not consistently anyway – or well enough that my audience would be able to picture it from what I wrote.  So I decided to take the time to see her. 

RevivalClothing.com a wonderful website that sells reproduction medieval clothing.  I’m sooooo tempted to make some purchases but the stuff is wicked expensive.  Check this place out.

hope's training clothesAfter an hour, here’s what I decided she’d be wearing.  I drew that picture myself – you can understand why I’m not working as an illustrator, but it get’s the job done. 

Let’s start from the foundation.  The underpants were called braies – loose drawstring boxer shorts type of things with an ingenious little slit on the hips to tie the points of the chauses.  The chauses were the…well…something like a cross between tights, old school 1950’s style stockings and really big socks.  The chauses (worn in this style) covered the entire leg, from the foot on up and were tied to the drawstring of the braies to hold them up.  The braies were tucked into the chauses.  The chauses also could be worn with a garter at the knee – basically a ribbon tied around the leg, or cross-gartered with a coupla criss-crossing ribbons.

Over that, she’s wearing a brown, boys undertunic which isn’t depicted very well.  This is a long-sleeved, linnen, calf length…well, shirt, basically.  Over that, she wearing a boys supertunic – blue with a bit of light brown decoration.  This is a looser-fitting over garment, with 3/4 length sleeves.  It’s shorter than the undertunic.  She’s sporting a leather belt to hold the ensemble together. 

Now, since she’s going out to learn how to use a sword, she’s also wearing a leather jerkin for protection.  I found this picture and quite liked it – I did not draw this one.  hope's leather armorI decided that it weighs around 7 pounds, not too heavy, but stiff and hard to move in it. Perfect for blunting the whack of a wooden training sword.

All in all, I’m quite happy with my work today – even though I only wrote that one sentence.  When I get back to it tomorrow, I know just how to picture her at her work.

So – what’s your secret?  How do you keep your imaginings consistent?  Are you a visual person who has to be able to actually see things to write about them or can you do it all in your head?



5 thoughts on “Writing When You’re a Visual Person by VIvienne Ylang”

  1. I get off course with research too, Viv. I get stuck on some gadget or futuristic automobile, or weapon that I have to see to understand how it works. I jot down details in my “story bible” for later reference and then dive into writing the scene. I try to write when the images are fresh so i don’t have to go back and research again later. I’ve sent photos to One Note so i have them to refer back to.

    Now, get back to work and keep writing that cool time travel romance. I can’t wait to read it!

  2. Welcome, Vivianne! I look forward to reading your posts throughout the summer and wish PJ lots of luck with her projects.

    I’m definitely a visual writer too. I have to see the scene in my mind like a little movie, and work out all the details before I can put fingers to keyboard. You did some great research and I bet you’re excited to get into writing tomorrow. 🙂

  3. So Viv, welcome. Who isn’t visual? I paste pictures right there in my WIP, gives me pleasure as I coast along on my words. My latest, a team of four horses pulling a stagecoach, surrounded by prairie-hens. When my characters attended a ball in 1863, guess what picture that produced? The process lightens the load, and moves me long in the story. Bet your kids would love seeing the sword fight. Have fun.

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