I've noticed that when I try to come up with an important, recurring location for my story where multiple scenes take place, I cannot imagine one consistent location. Somehow the location looks different in every scene.
Maybe I should give some background on my writing process first. Usually I let scenes play out in my head first, kind of like a movie, and then I try to translate that experience, the visuals and the dialogue into prose. Sometimes I let those images replay in my head many times before I actually sit down and write. As I'm writing, new visuals will appear in my head and so on.
Basically my writing process is driven by very vivid visuals. I'm not sure if that's how most people write or if it's just me so apologies if I'm not telling you anything new.
The thing is, one location can look different in different "movies" that my head created. For example, one time my main character's home may consist of a hallway that leads to an open living room with a balcony; another time the layout of his apartment will be entirely different and suddenly the bedroom has a balcony.
It feels like when my mind creates a new visual, I have no control over what the background looks like. Either it's consistent with what I have already written and imagined or it's not. Like my brain presses a "randomize" button or something.
It makes it very hard for me to describe places in a consistent way that won't confuse readers. I can only write my story the way I'm imaging it and if I'm imagining inconsistencies, it's very hard to not let these inconsistencies be reflected in my writing, maybe even just subconsciously.
I've tried forcing myself to imagine locations the way I had initially described them and I've also tried working with reference images or sketches of the places in question but once my mind has created one of its visuals, I can't seem to change it. That's just how the scene is supposed to be, to my brain at least. Trying to change it feels like trying to change the setting of one of my own real life memories.
The only way I can influence what the surroundings of a preexisting scene look like in my head is if I let it take place in a different location. For example if I imagine a dialogue in the kitchen when it originally took place in the living room.
Is this a problem any other writers are struggling with? Do you have any advice for me? Am I on the right track with using reference and sketches? Or is this just how my brain is wired and I won't be able to change that?
TL;DR: When I write, my brain creates movie-like visuals for the scenes I'm writing. The same location can look different in different visuals. I seem to have no influence on what visuals my brain creates and I cannot change them once they're created. I want to work on imagining consistent locations to avoid inconsistencies in my stories.
Source: reddit post