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Reading with Aphantasia.

2 months ago

So recently I accidentally stumbled upon this fancy new term "Aphantasia". What is it? Well, imagine a red square in your mind.

It actually blew my mind since whenever anyone was like "imagine a fucking forest or something" I was like "yes, I am totally imagining it" figuring everyone was just playing pretend. Like nobody can ACTUALLY fucking see stuff when they close their eyes? Yeah no apparently I'm the odd one. The image above is a perfect demonstration of how I would imagine a square for example (2 or 3). Or if I was imagining a forest: very dark, like the brightness on the monitor was at minimum, and no "fill". Literally like if you just drew the outline of a forest on a chalkboard. Gf wanted me to do some shitty "personality test" and was like "imagine a forest, is it night or day" and I was like "bitch there is no weather at all, it's literally just the black void".

This also explained something I noticed whenever reading: I basically skip over any lengthy descriptions. Also one of the comments on my story that I got:

 

In terms of constructive feedback, descriptive elements and story progression fell a bit flat.

I dunno about story progression, but obviously if I can't imagine anything, describing the scene for me is literally just wasted text. If an entire page is carefully describing the scene the protagonist is in, my enjoyment of the story can literally only INCREASE if I skip the entire page since I can't imagine the scene anyway. I guess it must be amazing to actually make an actual picture in your mind, but alas I'll never know.

So basically, anyone's thoughts on this are appreciated. It blew my mind that this exists at all, and I guess a lot of you may not know about it too since people WITH Aphantasia will just figure (like me) that nobody can see shit, and people without it will, of course, figure that everyone sees everything. It's not like if someone was blind so it's instantly noticeable, you generally wouldn't even think of this.

Edit: Also I am mentally 12 and this is my 69th post hehe.

Reading with Aphantasia.

2 months ago

TL;DR but it's odd that you popped back up since you and your story was being discussed just yesterday in another IF related discord server.

Specifically somebody wondered if you were Serbian and a few mentions of how your story was fucked up. (Of course we here at CYS approve of that sort of thing)

Reading with Aphantasia.

2 months ago

TL;DR Look at the picture.

Some people can't imagine shit in their mind. It's just black void. Me included. That leads to any descriptions being worthless to me.

Yes, I am Serbian. Just posted that in the Putin thread. So of course my story is fucked up.

Also I got hit by a fucking car and my back's been fucked for like half a year already sooo...yeah. Kinda been inactive on all fronts.

What discord lmao, I wanna see that.

Reading with Aphantasia.

2 months ago

Someone didn't look both ways before crossing the street.

Reading with Aphantasia.

2 months ago

Legally it is only her fault, but realistically it is both of ours. I had headphones on at the time. I did look both ways, but clearly not good enough.

In my defense the street has a parking lane attached to it so with a quick glance I probably confused her for a parked car. She wasn't going very fast I guess, it's why I'm only hurt and not fucking dead.

She quickly drove away after seeing I was alive (no cameras around) and I'm left half crippled for 6 months now. Can't bend over to reach my toes. Fun stuff.

Also is that Pieck?

Reading with Aphantasia.

2 months ago

You got hit by a car and didn't even get any money? Damn, that's some shit tier luck. And there were no cameras? Sheesh.

And it is Pieck. 

Next time you get hit make sure to aim your camera. Build up your willpower so that you're able to move and aim your phone for that next time. So you can do it even after feeling all of the pain from getting hit by the car.

Reading with Aphantasia.

2 months ago
Yeah, my mom had that. It was absolutely baffling trying to explain to her that we actually saw pictures in our head because she absolutely couldn't

Reading with Aphantasia.

2 months ago
Does that mean not being able to visualize things you read, or not being able to at all?

....are these people capable of dreaming with imagery? This is so bizarre.

Reading with Aphantasia.

2 months ago

I'm actually able to dream "properly" I assume. It is very realistic, like real life. And I seem to remember my dreams like at least 10x as often as an average person (and I write the crazy ones down).

I'm also occasionally able to lucid dream. It's fun af casting spells like in a video game.

If that's what you guys can do while awake, with just your imagination, consider me jealous as fuck.

Reading with Aphantasia.

2 months ago
Yeah it's basically like watching a movie in your head.

Writing for me is envisioning scenes and then trying painstakingly to describe them so that anyone reading can imagine it as similarly as possible.

Reading can be the same, except that I have a lot more quibbles with style and awareness of the actual words used now than I used to. Sometimes it's a struggle to get that far into a story at all, but I consider it a necessity for really enjoying one in a way that sticks with you. And with a really good book it just sucks you in and you are hardly aware of the translating words to images and action part of the process at all.

Something I have thought about before, is that when it came to books I'd read as a kid before I was very aware of things like prose and style, what I remember is not really all that much about the words (aside from dialogue) but just the scenes themselves. T

And sometimes I can go back to those books and discover that what I was envisioning was actually hilariously off the mark, because I misread something or some concept just flew over my dumb child brain.

These days it's harder to knock myself out of proofreading mode, so true immersion becomes more difficult. So I have potentially trained myself to be less imaginative, but then again there's a certain satisfaction in reading just a REALLY good sentence, that nothing else can quite emulate, so maybe it's more that I gained a sense.

People visualizing things they read by the way is part of the reason going from a book to a movie adaption can be so jarring for many though. It's not just that they dramatically change the plot or whatever, but that there's this actor with their own face and voice now overriding this very personal inner interpretation of a character they were attached to.

Reading with Aphantasia.

2 months ago

If you've never read any Isaac Asimov I'd recommend giving it a try. It's likely that he had aphantasia, and that shows in his writing. There is very little visual description in his books. I can't remember where I found it, but I read an article a while ago by a guy with aphantasia saying he found Asimov's writing much easier to read than most other books.

Reading with Aphantasia.

2 months ago
Can't see the red square either. Still like descriptions when well written.

Reading with Aphantasia.

2 months ago
Unsurprised to learn you're retarded.

Curiois though, how do you know the descriptions are well written if 'how vividly they make me visualize thing' is not a factor? Do you mean just like, word flow?

....what did you think the term 'imagery' when related to writing meant all this time?

Reading with Aphantasia.

2 months ago
Damn now we're delving into the faggotry of overexplaining things that are normally automatic and normal and unsaid.

So before this dumb fucking picture forcing me to visualize a red square I handled things just fine working with abstract concepts in relation to each other. And while formless abstract concepts are hard to be put into words, and instead just experienced like you instinctively know an apple falls to the ground, they do have attached feelings that are evocative.

So if a story tells of a long winding road that cuts through the thick canopy of the dark forest, my mind goes first to a road that doesn't have any physical properties, kinda like an unrendered blender scene, then the long and windyness adds a feeling to the scene and a property to the road that makes it feel deserted, lonely but also peaceful. The cuts adds something of force to the scene with the canopy making me think of helicopter shoots in David Attenboroughs nature documentaries of the rainforest, and the dark forest forms a dark foreboding border to the now safe road. If I try to actually visualize it I get something like a black river through a black landscape, but the feelings attached to the words/concepts are evocative enough to form a sense of the scene. And I instinctively know there's probably rolling hills underneath the trees and a small rustic town at the end of the road.

When good writers write descriptions the concepts are interesting and evocative like above, and they use good feeling and sounding words and wordplay that add to that. When bad writers overdo it and start to describe the curvature of the left nose piercing of the third man from the right, it just gets boring and I won't even bother actually reading the upcoming frills of his outfit. On the other hand without any description at all I won't have any abstract scenes to add the characters into and it also just falls flat.

Well now I know why to boomer bill's chagrin I absolutely go adjective crazy, even when I afterwards try and edit most of them out without losing the feel of the scene.

Reading with Aphantasia.

2 months ago
This just broke my mind.

It somehow makes it even weirder that you pick up on all the emotional impact and atmosphere, without the brain generated props that are supposed to create the illusion that you're there to make you feel the things.

Reading with Aphantasia.

2 months ago

Damn that's a very interesting way of looking at it.

For me anything not "plot related" is instantly thrown away. To quote some dude from reddit:

You write "the tear trickled slowly down her exposed breast until it finally stopped and landed in her navel", and I just read "she cried naked".

It's probably important for the story that she's crying, and it's also probably relevant that she's naked. Any descriptions of how and why are just...gone as soon as my eyes go to the next word.

People actually asked me "how do you memorize stuff or recall old situations" and I realized I don't know the answer. It's just like, in my mind I guess? Like I'm a computer and there's data in my RAM currently. That's the best way I'd explain me recalling stuff, data (such as words) being currently in my mind.

Reading with Aphantasia.

2 months ago
Damn, that's a way more direct test than a red square. If you talk to a guy about titties and they don't automatically imagine them, there's something wrong.

Reading with Aphantasia.

2 months ago

Would if I could...would if I could.

I was talking to a friend about this and she was like "so you can't imagine your ex nude"? Nope. Straight up cannot.

What I CAN do is recall the movement of my hands over them titties, controlling the nipple like a joystick. No mental imagery gong on, it's more like muscle memory. I cope however I can lol.

Reading with Aphantasia.

2 months ago

Just took the test since this seems to be important for some reason and just visualized a void.

Haven't read anything else in the thread, so don't know if that's the norm or not. (Not that it really matters to me)

Reading with Aphantasia.

2 months ago
This just proves your pure ties to necromantic power.

Reading with Aphantasia.

2 months ago

Does this apply to the other senses as well? 
 

For me I can visualize a sword with a metallic handle, and then also be able to phantom feel the handle. Same for taste, but smelling isn't as keen. 
 

Is this the same for you guys or is reading not as immersive?

Reading with Aphantasia.

2 months ago

Reading has mostly just been text for me.

The immersion for me is mainly just the storyline(s) and/or dialog.

All of which explains why I fucking hate stuff like Dickens who spends like 10 pages describing details of the silverware.

Also explains why I don't bother writing much background description of things unless I think it's actually important to the story in some way and have a shitton of dialog between characters.

Reading with Aphantasia.

2 months ago
There was a part in A Song of Ice and Fire that went over all the intricacies of Jamie Lanister's armor, and at that point it's just a disservice to the reader. If it's really that important, they should just illustrate it at the top of the page and save all those words for a more engaging story.

Reading with Aphantasia.

2 months ago

Hm, like I said in the other comment, I can't visualize shit, but I can do the "phantom feel" thingy. It's definitely a thing for other sense imo. Probably the easiest to test with visualization though.

Reading with Aphantasia.

2 months ago

I can visualize what things look like, but it's not like I have a video playing behind my eyelids; it's moreso I lose focus and sort of daydream. You can do this with your eyes either open or closed; sometimes, I even find it easier to do with my eyes open. It's also very much not like seeing something with your actual eyes but feels like a chemical process in the brain that conjures an image that takes effort to maintain, which is of course exactly what it is. I'm sure this is normal. I also agree with enterpride that when I'm reading a story normally, I don't actually try to visualize the scenes explicitly (unless the story happens to be erotica). The words evoke feelings without going through the effort of conjuring a definite image.