Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Characters

Today I wanted to offer some personal info about my writing style. Perhaps you have similar stories to share, and I hope you will leave a comment if that's the case. I wanted to speak about my characters and how I get to know them as the story unfolds, and how I make sure they continue to inspire me with their words and actions.

When I get far enough into the story to know what my characters are like, I print out a picture of each one and tape it to my wall. In Cannibal Island, Brad Pitt seemed like the ideal person to become Richie Armstrong. Jackie Chan was perfect for the role of Kuko, and Sean Penn filled the villain's spot as Hans Von Hisle. Naturally, Angus Callahan could be played by none other than Sean Connery, and Sandra Bullock was the only choice for Wren Remington. I usually cast the entire character list with the actors I feel would best reflect my image of the story characters. Having them looking at me while I'm working tends to keep me honest to their actions and dialogue.

So what do you do? Surely you have a few little secrets you can share with us. We won't laugh. Well, not loud enough for you to hear us.


  1. I too have pictures of most of my characters in my character book which includes basic info about their background, their family, and their current situation.

  2. Jessica, I have friends who do the same thing. I havne't been able to get myself to do that yet.

    For my first book I went online and joined a few dating sites to find some cute Italians (As there aren't many hot italian actors, that fit my character profiles) Met some cool friends that way, lol. But for the most part and for my other books I have the actors that I think fit best just up in my head, my memory, I've checked out and copied pix on my comp, but havne't printed out any, it's too much paper to keep up with in my small apt. LOL.

  3. I use photographs. If it's a mischievous child I use my own old photos. Hee hee. I know that's weird, but that's where I get my inspirations. I use my memory as I was a very odd child - still am. LOL.

    If I’m writing about fictitious characters like fairies, mermaids, or dolls, I find them in opportunity shops, take them home and photograph them. Then I sit the toys on my desk where I can see them. That works for me.

  4. I don't use the visuals, they're all in my head. To paraphrase, "I see people."

    Having read your work, Michael, I think you do a great job of matching up your characters with the people you have chosen to play the part.

    But for Death in the Bayou, I can't think of anyone other than Johnny Depp to play Uncle Conrad. You may have had someone entirely different in mind, however.

  5. I'm afraid I do the same things. I find it much easier to connect with my characters once I've got them captured in a picture.
    Most of my characters are born as I'm driving, looking out the window. I think, "Hm, that person looks like a great kind of character," and then all that's left is to dream up a plot to put him in. :-)

  6. I was going to write "But what do you do when all your characters are trolls and fairies (and I don't mean the euphemistic kind)?", but then I read the comments to this post. So there are ways. I tried painting some of my characters, but I only discovered that I am an abysmal painter. So I think I'll stick with "seeing" them in my mind (I see people too, person commenting above me!).

    I love the name of this blog, by the way. If I were to marry this blog we'd attribute to one of Disney's infamous villains. Or the less famous Cornell Collett.


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