When I wrote my first novel I had no problem finding an actress that matched my vision of how I imagined my female protagonist to look. But for some reason, I struggled with finding the right image that captured my hero’s face as I saw it in my imagination. After several days of flipping through magazines and catalogs, I finally found the right “face” to match the vision in my mind.
I think I’ve told you guys this before, but I’m a visual person, so having an actual picture of my main character and secondary characters really helps me. In my first novel, my hero—and main man—is the consummate bad boy. In my mind’s eye I pictured him with rugged features: razor stubble, angular-shaped face, and sharp-keen eyes.
My thinking in sculpting his features was that I needed him to have rugged good looks to offset his major personality flaws and soften some of his character weaknesses while not sacrificing any of his charm. Sounds crazy, I know, but finding the right image wasn’t exactly the easiest thing in the world.
If you’re a writer, when you develop your characters, do you have a strong picture in your mind of what your characters look like before you start writing or do the character’s features come into focus as you create the story?
Fun Little Exercise For Non Writers and Writers—Everyone Can Play
For giggles, I’m going to make up a male character and describe a few character traits. If you’re up for playing, tell me the physical features you envision this character having based on my description.
Soooo let me see. Our leading man is an artistic sculptor trapped inside the career and life of an architect. He’s single, but dates a lot only because women don’t seem to “get him.” He doesn’t smoke, but at times he drinks excessively, and friends secretly think he has a drinking problem. Although he lives in New York, he’d much rather be outside on a ranch or a farm working with his hands.
Based on these few nuggets, describe the face of the man that first appeared in your mind?