Writing and learning style

In a previous article on writing, I explained how how being “left-brained” vs. “right-brained” influences writers.

I imagine that their cognitive or learning style influences writers and readers too. Literature describes at least three different learning styles. Visual learners prefer learning through images, diagrams, demonstrations, handouts, etc. Auditory people learn best through listening to instructions. Kinesthetic people prefer hands-on experience and experiments.

There are a lot of sites online where you can test your learning style, for example this one. The program that tests hemispheric preference also indicates whether you are visual or auditory.

big-blue-eyeI talked to a lot of writers who are visual writers. They describe seeing scenes unfold like a “movie” in their heads when they write. Personally, I’m not a visual writer at all. I don’t have that movie. I think in words, not images. I always considered that a disadvantage.

But then I discussed it with one of my critique partners, whose first drafts have few visual details. I thought that might be because she’s not a visual writer either. But it turns out it’s the opposite. She’s a visual person and has vivid pictures in her head, so she tends to forget putting them on the page in the first draft. Putting the images into words isn’t always easy. And when the “movie” stops, many of the visual writers battle writer’s block.

earAuditory writers often say they hear their characters. Entire dialogue scenes might come easily to them.

Our cognitive style influences us as readers and beta readers too.

Strongly visual readers might need just a few setting details, and their imagination will take off. Less visual readers might need more details to be able to “see” the setting.

When I was working on Second Nature, I had a test reader who’s strongly visual. She sees novel plots like movies in her head. During the whole story, she continually asked me “How did he say that?” and “How did she sound?” For her, there were too few auditory clues on the page, while auditory readers might be able to imagine sounds and voices without a lot of cues.

So, are you a more visual or more auditory person? Does it influence your writing or reading?




Created by Krystel Contreras & Jorge Courbis