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Imagining Characters

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Hello everyone! Today I was wondering if character descriptions really matter (I'd still do them regardless to share my vision). Now some of you that are reading this might be thinking, "Vroom, what are you going on about?" Well, whenever I read a story I tend to form my own view of the characters as soon as I read their names and that usually sticks and overrides whatever the descriptions say.

There is an exception and that is when a work has a cover and has the characters pictured, then I imagine them as they appear on the cover. Another exception to this is when there is reoccurring descriptions of a character/characters and it hammers home in my brain.

I was wondering if everyone else's minds did this or not. I'm interested in knowing what determines how people picture characters in stories. Is it what they look like on the cover? Does a written description cause an individual to form in your imagination? Or do you form a preconceived look for characters based upon their name or traits alone and stick with it even if it goes against their written description?

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