Reading and picturing the characters in a book

Michael Joshua November 19, 2019

Evaluating how to imagine characters in a novel

Reading and picturing the characters in a book

According to Mendelsund, who is a classical pianist, philosopher, and the art director of a major publisher, readers really see with their minds and not with their eyes when they imagine the places and characters in a book.

How the authors help readers to imagine characters in a novel

Some authors give a vivid description of characters – from how tall or short they are, the kind of hair they have, and their skin complexion, to the clothes they wear, the way they talk, their habits, etc. Such details help the readers to outline an image of characters. However, there are some authors who simply depict some aspects of the characters, but leave the rest to the readers’ imagination. In such cases, there exists a lot more freedom when envisaging the characters. While some readers use the people they know to picture how a specific character would look like, others may take a Hollywood casting call in their mind to try to think of a particular actor or actress who would match the book’s description. Thus, it can be said a book encourages a type of collaboration between the writer and the reader to create environments, people, and situations from mere words.

Do movies or book review writing influence how one envisages characters?

Readers often feel elated or disappointed when how they had envisaged characters in a book turn out to be completely different from what a movie depicts and vice-versa.Even taking up the task of writing book reviews can influence how one visualizes characters, scenes, etc.


Call to action:

What do you think about visualizing characters in a book? Let me know in the comments section below. To take the conversation further, you can also reach out to me on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. To have some interesting reads, be sure to check out my books.



Exploring your mind. “What Our Brain Creates When We Read.” January 9, 2017.

Drews, C.G. “DO YOU VISUALISE CHARACTER FACES?” Paper Fury, March 19, 2015.


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Michael Joshua

Michael Mohan Joshua graduated with two degrees from the University of Michigan. He earned a bachelor of scien . . .

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