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Be Your Own Casting Director (Part 5): Isn’t This All Just a Big Waste of Time?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Why bother finding visual templates for our characters? After all, we’re writing stories, not casting a movie.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that I can’t write if I haven’t cast my characters—even my secondary (non-viewpoint) characters. I am so visually oriented that if I don’t have a concrete physical representation of each character, they start running together in my head. I also have a tendency to over-describe them (if you can imagine, given my tendency to love describing my characters) if I don’t have the image there. Having images of the RWTs to look at while I’m writing a scene helps me, I believe, to focus in on smaller details, things that will help make the character more unique, rather than just mentioning their blue eyes or brown hair.

For example (from Follow the Heart):

Andrew Lawton’s thick brows raised a fraction. Once again, Kate found herself mesmerized by his eyes, unable to draw her gaze away. How had she never noticed before the chip of brown in the green iris of his left eye? She leaned forward as if to step closer to examine his eyes more carefully, to ensure her own did not play tricks on her, but managed to stop herself before doing so.

Now, where in the world would I get the idea to give Andrew a “brown chip” in the iris of his left eye? Well, here’s a close-up image of the RWT for Andrew (Henry Cavill):

Andrew's Eyes

See the brown chip in his left eye? It’s something that someone falling in love would notice—after all, that’s how I found it! 😉 (And now you’ll never be able to not see it.)

Sucker Punch - Premiere - Outside ArrivalsKate closed her eyes and breathed deeply, trying to separate and identify the aromas surrounding her. But instead of inhaling the fragrances of flowers and plants, a phantom of the woodsy, spicy scent of Andrew Lawton filled her mind. She shivered at the memory of his smile, his slightly crooked front teeth making it all the more charming. Not for the first time in her life did she wish she’d mastered the skill of drawing, for she would love to be able to capture his square jaw and the way the light and shadows emphasized his planed cheeks. And his eyes . . . oh, his eyes. Dark hazel or mossy green, depending on his surroundings, with that mesmerizing chip of brown in the left iris making it so hard for her to look away.

In addition to being able to use the RWTs to inspire myself (and my heroes and heroines) as I write, I’m also able, as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, to use them to inspire the graphic designers creating my covers. Here’s a screen shot, which is linked to the actual document, of the Marketing/Cover Design info questionnaire I filled out for my publisher for this book:

Marketing-Cover Info

Because I sent such detailed information to the designer, I ended up with a cover that I absolutely love (I also got to give input on the dress she ended up in):

GE1 FollowHeart

Wait . . . let’s take a closer look at one of those images on the cover:

FTH Cover - Henry

Apparently, according to him, my designer was greatly inspired by the links to all of the images I sent him—especially those of the character templates. You can see what the result of that was!

So, is it worth the time to cast characters and collect images of our RWTs?

It’s been helpful to me. I chose both the hero and heroine images on the covers for both The Art of Romance and Turnabout’s Fair Play—making it easier for the designers and ensuring that the characters on the published covers of my book look exactly how I pictured them when I was writing. And it helped to inspire the designer of both Follow the Heart and An Honest Heart to find images of people who strongly resembled the RWTs I shared with him.

Was it worth the time I spent? Most definitely!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In case you missed the other posts in this series…
Part 1: Character Development for Visually Oriented Writers; or, Be Your Own Casting Director

Part 2: Be Your Own Casting Director: 4 Methods of Character Casting

Part 3: Be Your Own Casting Director: Creating a “Casting Book”

Part 4: Be Your Own Casting Director: Using Real World Templates in Character Development

Part 5: Be Your Own Casting Director: Isn’t This All Just a Big Waste of Time?

* * * * * *

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  1. Lori permalink
    Friday, October 3, 2014 3:01 pm

    Ilove this advice! I’ve used this in the past and it’s so helpful. Thanks for sharing!



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