Thursday, February 24, 2005

Am I the only author on the planet who doesn't pick celebrities/models to "be" or model my characters after? For the most part, they show up in my head with their own faces, so trying to find "their" pictures in a magazine or such feels kind of surreal. Maybe it's a backlash to coming out of fanfiction, where pretty much everybody *had* to look like a TV character/actor because that was the "world" of the story. Even then, I had a prediliction for putting original characters in, and I had a hard time "casting" them, too.

Which is kind of funny, since I love actual casting. As in 'I wrote this play, you are actors, now get up on stage and show me what you can do, and I'll pick the best ones.' There really is nothing like sitting in the middle row of an empty theatre, calling out names, and having actor after actor get up and read. I love that. Want to do that again.

Which may be why the whole idea of "casting" a story rubs me the wrong way. If I could actually put out a list of the types I needed, get the information around, and then on the appointed day, have clusters of, say caucasian males between 25-30, light brown/dark blond hair, hazel eyes, such and such a height, and caucasian females, 20-25, such and such height, long red-brown hair, brown eyes, (fitting the h/h of My Outcast Heart) show up and read their scenes, I'd be more at home with the whole deal. I need the live energy, the chemistry...and my theatre background is showing. ::sigh:: Three consecutive days of American Idol can also be partly to blame. Where is Simon Cowell when I need him?

Still, we have to keep learning new skills in this business, and this picture-picking thing would probably be a good one to have. I got an email from my cover artist, the talented Tim Harrison, asking if I could round up some pictures of people who resemble Dalby and Tabetha, even vaguely. My first thought was something like ", where do I look for pictures?" The only shows we follow are Survivor, Lost, AI and the Law and Order/CSI families.

Second reaction was to try and trace my convoluted train of thought back to how I got the physical appearances for Simon and Jonnet in the first place, only to have to slam the breaks on myself and remember that Tim needs stuff for the other book. The one that's coming out. Whoopsiedoo. Different looks for the h/h, different era, and different continent.

Which is why I sent out a distress call to my critique partners who had read the book in question. Only another writer can understand a question like "what do my characters look like" when asked by the person who wrote the darned book and has been living with them for the last couple of years? Then again, I am the same woman who once wandered around John Wayne Airport for an hour because I'd forgotten what my father-in-law looked like. ::shame::

Many thanks to E, who found me this in the Dalby neighborhood (knock off a few years and lighten the hair a tad) I think he'll do as a reasonable facsimilie. Still on the lookout for his female counterpart.

So, for those of you who do the picture thing, where do you look?


Temperley said...

You're not the only one Anna. My characters are hardly ever truly, truly pictures. Just impressions of hair color, eye color, body shape, height, maybe their smile, etc. I don't picture celebrities because their personal personas began to interrupt with the story.

Anna said...

Thanks, Evangeline. That's exactly how it is for me. The actor's persona comes along, and things get blendy. Though it's easier if I don't know much about the person in question, then I can say if they do or don't resemble the character.

Marguerite Arotin said...

A lot of times I'll play with dollmaker sites and make pictures of my characters as I'm plotting. I love to draw out the characters as I envsion them. But its rare that I use actors as models although I have used realtives though such in the case of Tony, the Italian-American hero of another historical that I'm plotting :-)

Anna said...

Ooh, I hadn't considered dollmakers. Love those. Great idea!

E. Catherine said...

I use models, but not always. It totally depends. On what, the audience asked. Well, hmm. Sometimes I don't immediately have an impression of a face, so I poke around to see if anything strikes me as being right. A hair color, a nose shape, anything. Sometimes I do like an actor and think hey, I could cast that person in this role, they'd be good because of the way they move, or their ethnic look, etc. I don't think I've ever confused the actor with the role. While they are real people, they can also be templates... It's, wait--identity theft! ;)