When you read a novel what you are actually doing is building mental pictures in your mind as to what the book is about. You actually started to develop this ability when Mother or Father would read picture-books to you at bed time, showing you the illustrations as they read you the story. Most people realize that as their reading matures there are fewer illustrations in the books that they read. A notable exception is the text-book.
When a writer tells a story with words, the writer’s aim is to connect with the reader on a mental and emotional level. The descriptive narrative frame of reference or painting a mental picture with expressive words is how this is done.
Writing is an art form; a lot of the same terminology is used in each discipline, the art of drawing and painting, and the art of writing; prospective, detail, depth, continuity and proportion. It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Binging about this metaphor is what the writer attempts to do with the descriptive narrative frame of reference.
When non-fiction writers use a frame of reference that describes a known quantity, such a known person, place or thing, they need only a few well written paragraphs to set the up a mental picture for the reader. Historically based novels usually include a picture gallery to aid in putting the reader into the biographical frame of reference for historical events or personalities.
In fiction writing the descriptive narrative frame of reference is taking reality and turning it into an altered-reality using suspension disbelief, taking reality and a known reference and expanding on it and inventing something entirely new. This takes on new dimensions attempting to connect the writer’s imagination with the reader’s imagination with words and invented words, and invented reality.
This was never as true as when J K Rowling started to define the magical world of Hogwarts and the game of Quidditch. J K Rowling’s gift to her readers was her vividly brilliant imagination. What Rowling presented was a completely different view of Magic versus Reality. The trick was hiding the “Wizarding World” from a “Real World”. Rowling tapped into every child’s desire to have “Super-powers” and be part of a secret world.
When it came time to put Harry and friends on the silver screen, it became apparent that there was no “Filmic-Reference” for most of the places and event that Rowling’s books depicted. Hogwarts and the game of Quidditch in particular were challenging to the filmmakers.
Author evolvement in the movies has traditional been script and character development. Rowling was completely involved with all facets from script to concept art, and CGI effects especially evolving the depiction of the game of Quidditch. The reason that Rowling was enlisted was because her book outlined the Wizarding World of Harry Potter so completely for her readership that the movies had to come up to or exceed expectations or the fear was that the first movie would be the last movie.
The same problem faced movie makers when they attempted to depict Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings”. The question was; just how do you put that on screen? CGI or Computer Generated Imaging has gone a long way in putting what we can imagine on the screen; however it still cannot compare to what your own imagination can creates when you read a well written descriptive narrative frame of reference work.
The power of our own imagination, especially a child’s imagination, is developed in many ways, but the best way is through development of understanding descriptive narrative, and a good all-around education that give a child a well-rounded frame of reference.
“The wise see the world, and then endeavor to understand.” – J L Myers.