Allow me to set the scene.
You’re writing (big surprise, right?), and your character is walking around her kitchen. She’s thinking about something, but, since you’re such an amazing author, she’s also putting away the dishes at the same time (mixing thoughts and actions and dialogues).
She just complained to herself about how terrible Brad is with telling her about big family events ahead of time. She just picked up a clean measuring cup from the top shelf of the dishwasher… and now she’s turning to put it away… but, wait, is she turning left or right? Where are the cabinets at? How are you visualizing her kitchen?
Are you picturing the kitchen in your own house? Maybe even the one in someone else’s that you know of?
See, this is where I’m heading with this. I can’t imagine I’m the only writer who does this.
When I’m writing a scene, whatever it is, I have to have a picture of the physical setting already in my mind. And, yes, part of the time, I look up pictures and stare at them until their image is actually burned in my mind… but, it’s a whole lot easier to just think of a house that I’ve already physically been in.
So, I could think of my own house. That’s the easiest of the easiest, but my house is also… to put it lightly, eh. Sometimes my characters need a bit of a better lifestyle than mine.
And what else could I do…?
I imagine the houses of my relatives, friends, past friends, past relatives… you get the idea. I mean, sometimes I change it up a bit and try to rearrange their furniture and rooms in my head… but, that doesn’t always work. And so, I feel kind of weird just copying their houses’ style in my writing without telling them… but, I mean, it’s not like I actually took pictures and put them in my books, you know?
But, seriously, though, I know I can’t be the only writer who does this.
Let me know how you write your settings and what helps you visualize scenes! And, most importantly, if you picture other people’s houses, too.