Tuesday, October 18, 2011

writing inspiration - faces

I used to be a people watcher. In order to make my characters feel more real, I'd go to the mall and shop a little for shoes, but mostly I'd check people out. I'd listen to their conversations and study they way they move, and look at their features. But honestly speaking, I kind of felt like creeper. Especially when people noticed me watching them.

Now I stay home. Thanks to Pinterest, I find my interesting character faces online without creeping anyone out besides my hubby. Here are the faces of my current WIP that's a contemporary spy novel:

Milla - Kick-A protagonist. Lethal agent that too often listens to her bleeding heart.

Mag - Milla's bestie, just as lethal but not as confident 

Crow - their beloved trainer that looks tough but really has a soft side

Kane - the new trainer who is as mean as he looks . . . most of the time

And the boy. Sigh. 

Of course a lot of my characters are dream cast, but I tried to find pictures that set the scene for me. When I'm finding my character's voice, I'll pull their image onto the screen and start writing scenes. Sometimes those scenes don't end up in the novel, but they help me figure out who the character really is.

Now, the questions of the day:
How do you find your character's voices?
Are you a picture finder? If yes, who is in your dream cast?
Or are you a people watcher? If so, where do you go? 


Faith E. Hough said...

I do this, too. My MG novel has Abigail Breslin in it. :) Finding a face for my characters often helps me find a voice as well.

Jennie Bennett said...

I love the pic of your MC! Her face intrigues me and I can really see that confidence in her face. I look for pictures, but I try not to pick famous actors. I'd rather have the character in my head then the work that I've seen the actor do, but that's just me. I'm totally addicted to pintrest too, I don't pin a lot but I could spend hours browsing :)

Abby Fowers said...

I *heart* watching people! Yeah, I can feel a little psycho at times though. haha. Hopefully they don't catch me, but sometimes they do. I need to get the Pinterest thing figured out. Every says the best things about it and I need to get myself hooked! LOVE your pics!

Jenny S. Morris said...

I used to look for pictures, but then I wanted people that felt a little more real to me, so I started people watching. I don't do it all the time. I also troll Facebook for pictures of real people. Mostly my nieces friends. Love the pic of your MC. OH, and your story sounds very interesting.

Emily R. King said...

I used to look for pictures, but quickly became frustrated because no one looked like the characters in my head. I'm such a perfectionist. : )

Peggy Eddleman said...

I'm not a picture finder, but I really want to be. I think I am going to start RIGHT NOW. I'm not kidding. RIGHT NOW.

But first, gotta say that I loved your pics! EXACTLY how I pictured Milla.

Marsha Ward said...

I've used photos from TV Guide and other magazines to put on cards where I have my character descriptions. I also people watch on the infrequent occasions when I get to a mall.

Thanks for visiting my blog, Erin.

Marsha Ward
Writer in the Pines

Rach said...

love the spread of characters! GoRGEOU
S! HMMM...yes!

Iain said...

I gou out in a grubby rain coat and mutter to myself when I'm people watching.
OK, I fibbed. I never felt creepy until your comment the other day :o|

Alexis Bass said...

Double *sigh* for 'the boy.' :)

I'm not much of a face finder, but somewhat of a visual is always helpful.

i'm erin. said...

Oh no Iain! I'm so sorry. Did I totally offend you? Sometimes I do that. It's ok to be creepy.

Jessie Humphries said...

This is a hot idea! I think u may have started something here. I already posted liam hemsworth as my boy...but the other characters could use some more visual help. Except u totally stole MY George!

Sarah Tokeley said...

I have pictures in my head of what my guys look like but I don't search them out. Maybe I should :-)

Shari said...

Pinterest is AWESOME!

Iain said...

I don't do offended. :o)
You just made me realise that maybe watching people can appear creepy. Then again, if someone is watching me watch someone, then which is creepier?

Charlie N. Holmberg said...

I signed up for Pinterest, used it for a couple of days, and then the site decided that I didn't exist anymore. :/

David Farland had the idea to have characters "audition" for the roles in your book. I really liked that. Compile a few different traits, a few empty faces to go with them, have them audition for the role and see which one fits.

Otherwise, I compile traits that make a character sympathetic and build from there (usually with some key factors I know I want the person to have), or they just randomly pop in my head and make my life easy. ;)

I like picture-finding--I save interesting pictures to my flash drive for future use. I have a friend who's an artist and does commissions for cheap, so often I go that route if I want a good image of my characters. (She's really good, did this: http://tinyurl.com/3t5pnfb)

I've never watched people, but I probably should.... I get the same creeper vibe, though.

i'm erin. said...

Iain, you're hilarous.

Charlie, awesome! I think I might use what you said in a future post.

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