Girls Write Out
Thursday, October 25, 2012

I love finding pictures of my characters. My new story in the next Smitten calls for a young child (at least so far that's in my story's plot). As I was trying to find just the right picture of a five-year-old boy, without much luck, it occurred to me I could use my grandson.

Normally, I don't pattern my characters after anyone I know. It's just too hard to separate my character from the person I know. But in this case, my grandson is perfect for the part. So I will attempt to use him in my story--or at least his outer image. :-)  I need a little kid with attitude. What do you think? Does he fit the need?

When you're reading, do you have a picture in your mind of the character? I think it would be interesting to see the author's picture and the reader's mental image of the same character. Do you prefer lots of description for a character's physical image or do you like some of it left to your imagination?

IMO characters make the story. It's not so much what's happening as it is how that situation affects my character. So I have to find just the right character to put into that situation.

I'm on a Christmas--yes, Christmas--kick right now and I have to say I absolutely love the character Buddy on "Elf." So genuine, vulnerable, lovable.

What about you? Who are some of your favorite characters?
Diann Hunt  
posted at 9:01 AM  
  Comments (9)
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At 2:12 PM, Blogger Timothy Fish said...

I generally ignore physical descriptions of characters because of the effort required to convert the words into a visual image.

At 5:40 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

He is a TOTAL character, Di! Love those pics. :)

I always try to visualize the character. It totally drives me crazy if the description is different from the cover too.

At 10:18 PM, Blogger ~sharyn said...

I know what you mean about not patterning characters after people you know but sometimes it's hard to resist. And in my current WIP, I've had to make a character very similar to a man who broke my heart. Doing so upped the emotion to a necessary level.

As for a favorite character, I LOVE the horse, Maximus, on Tangled. What really made me laugh was how much he reminded me of my sister's coon hound. Best non-speaking character ever!

At 9:01 AM, Blogger Mary-Louise said...

I think the picture of your grandson sounds perfect for the character you need. The picture looks like he could have 'attitude'.

And, Colleen, don't even get me started. I cannot stand it either, when the characters on the cover don't match the description in the book...

One thing I thoroughly enjoy is a description so deftly put in, a sentence here, a word there, that you get an immediate mental glimpse and feel of the character. This opposed to a full descriptive paragraph, where you have to perform mental acrobatics to get the idea, and then two pages down the road the information is forgotten.

At 9:26 AM, Blogger Candice Sue said...

Your grandson would make a great character! I love that tough/cool look he's flashing to the camera. I enjoy reading books with children characters in them. Especially when their being mischievous (but no too much) or saying something humorous that embarrasses the adult.

I like it when the author gives vivid detail of the characters right away and then sprinkles reminders of their features throughout the rest of the book.

As vital as the main characters and their personalities are, I enjoy the strange quirks of the secondary characters as well. Like Miss Lucy in Denise's Big Sky Series. Becky Wade's new novel "My Stubborn Heart" had the most hilarious group of senior citizens in it, each one with a unique personality or habit that literally had me laughing out loud.

I agee with you about Buddy the Elf. That's become a must-watch at our house at Christmas the last few years. I enjoy listening to the boys laughter throughout the entire thing. Too funny!

At 11:39 AM, Blogger Ane Mulligan said...

I love your grandson's perfect! His attitude is so cute. So ... I'm cool! :o)

I always use photos. I'm writing a depression era story and found the perfect photo for the little boy in mine. It's a picture of Mickey Rooney when he was about 7.

I have files and files of photos. I cut them out of magazines. My doctor's office saves the old ones for me. I'm their "recycler" and I cut out all the good photos before tossing the into the recycle bin. :)

At 1:16 PM, Blogger Meghan Carver said...

I love when the description in the book is from another character's perspective and I get some insight into the personality as well - both character's personalities. I've not accumulated photos of my characters before, but I love the idea. I think the pictures would talk to me and add insight into the characters, and I wouldn't just be relying on their voices in my head. Is that true for you published authors? Now I need some magazines or catalogs! Or do you have websites you can recommend?

At 12:03 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Di, your little grandson makes a perfect character! I love using people I know to make my characters more memorable and let readers connect better with them. Appearance and descriptions may come out or they might not, but I need to know those characters before I can write about them. Strangely, I forget that almost every time I start to write a new book, and try to begin with plot.

At 2:06 PM, Blogger Pamela S. Meyers said...

Aw what a cute kid and he does look like a cool dude. I'm with Colleen. If the description in the story doesn't look like the figure on the cover I'm bummed. Yet I know that happens. So far in my short career as a published author that hasn't happened.


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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