What did the Shire, from the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings, look like? If you’ve seen the movie then you’ve seen one interpretation, but I wasn’t referring to the movie—I meant the books. To me, writing and reading is a kind of collaboration.
There isn’t just one version of a story, but almost as many as there are readers + the writer(s). We each have a picture of what we see in our minds, an image of the characters, and even a kind of physical performance (virtual) of every scene. I know what the Shire looks like to me. I know what Mordor looks like, as well as the Glittering Caves of Aglarond (something you didn’t get to see in the movies). Of course a film HAS to make compromises, or it would cost an infinite sum to build the sets, and the movie would stretch out in time.
I also know what the town of Bosworth looks like to me, and the observatory in I Am, the forest and plains in The Boy Who Ran, and just about every part of The Land from The Balance. I saw them as I was writing, just as I watched the Boy running through the forest and along the branches of its trees. When I wrote the scene in Bosworth where the spirit of the murdered girl visits Jim in his bedroom, I wrote it in a dark house, with just my Mac Air on—that made it all the more easy to write, and to see. Writers and readers share a special bond—a partnership—in the real-time play that happens in our minds when we read.
It’s a bond writers should never take for granted, because if it isn’t clear for you when you’re writing the scene then it probably won’t spark that special feeling in the reader.