Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Characterization--REALLY

Mindy here. As writers, we often hear/learn about characterization. It's what brings our characters to life and makes them walk right off the page. Sometimes a character is based on someone we know. Maybe a famous person. Other times, we just have an image in our mind.

That's the case with current WIP. So imagine my surprise when I was flipping through a magazine, and there she was--my heroine, in living color. I was floored. She looked exactly like the image I'd had since the beginning, but I had never "seen" her. At least not with visible eyes.

Being the visual person that I am, I cut that picture out and taped it to my monitor. Suddenly, she flowed onto the page. I knew her expressions better, how she dressed, little nuances that weren't there before.

Then there's my villain. I had the hardest time wrapping my brain around this character. And the main reason was because I was trying to create someone he wasn't. I tried to affix this face or that face, but it just wasn't right. I kept avoiding the person he really was because I didn't want him to be that persona, in this case an actor. I liked that actor. He couldn't possibly be this nasty person. But alas, a character's true identity can't be suppressed. Once I acquiesced, he took on a life of his own. Writing him became fun instead of a chore.

How do you "see" your characters? Are you visual like me and need an image? Or do they just flow out of your imagination?

Happy Tuesday, y'all.

7 comments:

  1. I definitely have to have an image. In fact, I've selected pictures before I knew the characters well - sometimes that worked and sometimes it didn't! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. glad you got your man figured out, I am sure it will be a great story,


    mamat2730(at)charter(dot)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Edwina, since finding her picture, I've put together an album with pix of my characters, homes, and even my heroine's kitchen. Go figure.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Edna, thanks for the encouragement.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great post, Mindy. I've heard a lot of writers mention keeping photos taped up. Some even do collages of their characters or of the feel of the story.

    I've started two computer files--heros and heroines. Whenever I see someone attractive on TV or in magazines, I google them and then save their photos in my files. In the story I just sold, the hero is a small town police chief. The whole time I've been writing him, I've pictured the dad in Twiglight! So I've got his photo to look at while writing. :) Then when I went through my file for my heroine, I immediately chose one of the phtotos I got from Soap Opera Digest. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Missy, I do the same thing, googling photos and saving them. Only problem is when my family goes to my pictures they wonder why I have all these pix of these men :-D

    ReplyDelete
  7. LOL! That's why you title the file "heros." :) And also have that heroine file as well. :)

    Of course, I've gotten strange looks while I was doing the searching!

    ReplyDelete