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What do readers see?

"Oh, that's too scary for me." With those words posted on social media, a person who had read several of my books announced that they wouldn't be reading EMBALMED because of their reaction to the cover.

That got me thinking about the broader topic of what reader's see (or don't see) in my books/stories.

I had started reading Agatha Christie's Poirot series about the time that the movie Murder on the Orient Express, starring Albert Finney as Poirot, was released. Thereafter, I couldn't read a Poirot without picturing Finney in the character. Later, after seeing David Suchet create the character, he became a more enduring image in my mind.

I've had readers tell me that they wish my Brad Frame character was more fully described. I'd prefer for my readers to conjure their own picture of him (although I do provide a few descriptors). At least until Hollywood makes a movie of one of my stories. :-)

In my novel, BLOOD PORN, a reader I spoke with had a Bate's Motel view (Creepy vibe) of the juvenile institution as it unfolded in the story. I was surprised when he said that, since it was not my intention (or the way I saw it). But it demonstrated that a reader's imagination was as important as my words in how one of my stories is received.

What about you? How important are descriptions when you read a book? Do you prefer to let your imagination run wild? Feel free to comment below, because after all, Life's a Mystery.

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