Aphantasic Author


Anyone else with aphantasia who writes fiction for fun or professionally. I’m curious since you obviously can’t see your characters and world how do you imagine or write stories?


For me its a series of decisions then once I know a general plot or the character well enough, what happens just comes to me. Often interestingly enough when I’m not thinking about it random pieces of story just pop up in my mind.

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It’s great to hear from more aphantasic authors!

We’ve had a few authors share their experience writing fiction with aphantaisa. Perhaps some of their experiences and techniques will resonate.

Writing with aphantaisa
Being a Writer When you Literally Cannot Visualize a Scene

And this one you might find interesting on how to enjoy reading more with aphantasia

I also write for fun, though I would love to be published one day.  My process is similar to yours.  It just comes to me.  I do think my description could be better if I could visualize, but I think I do well with words because I rely on language to fill in for the lack of the visual.  

Yes, I write fiction for fun – and in the hope that my readers will enjoy the books, which, fortunately, does seem to be the case. See elliotfiner.com. My experience exactly mirrors yours, vio88.  Details of the plot seem to be driven by what has just happened, what the characters say and think, and, as you say, what just comes to me – sometimes in the middle of the night! Sometimes the plot takes an unexpected turn – unexpected to me as I’m writing, let alone to the eventual readers. An unexpected benefit of writing fiction has been what it reveals (or hints) about the working of the subconscious.

The only problem caused by my aphantasia is in describing locations. I use online pictures to help, but above all I try to convey how the place feels rather than describe details of how it looks. To my surprise, readers have praised the sense of place in my novels. 

I say more about some of this on my website.

I can’t imagine writing fiction it would be so frustrating for me.

 I hate reading books for me it’s just plain wall of (mostly) boring text. My girlfriend told that for her it’s similar to watching a movie but in her mind and I’m so jealous.

I’m part of a writing group and in the process of writing a novel. The feedback so far seems positive, but I still have a lot to learn.

I have discovered that I do things a little different to many of the people in my group. As Elliot Finer below said, I too search for images on Google when required to describe even the most basic of objects or scenes.

For specific location settings throughout my story, I have assigned them to real life locations nearby and have visited them with a note pad taking down real time observations, noting the sounds, sights, smells etc.

In regards to plot and storyline, I wrote the whole thing from start to finish with no thought to structure and then once finsihed the first draft spent a lot of time planning, cutting and moving things around to make it work. I find that the Scrivener app cork board is very useful for this.