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Be Your Own Casting Director

Revised and expanded September 2014; originally published October/November 2006

When you write, do you collect photos of “your characters”—actors, models, singers, athletes, etc.—so you can better describe them? Do you need to have a photo of a person before you can start writing about your characters? Have you ever seen an actor or a photo of a person who inspired you to write a story? Then you might be a visually oriented writer—and Character Casting may be a great tool for your writing toolbox!

Characters + Monitor

Character Development for Visually Oriented Writers; or, Be Your Own Casting Director

    Character Casting goes deeper than just finding images of people who look like our characters. Those of us who are compelled to find Real World Templates (RWTs) for our characters are looking for inspiration—for emotions, actions, and body language in addition to how they look. We use RWTs as one of many building blocks for character development.

Be Your Own Casting Director: 4 Methods of Character Casting

    If you’re not someone who is “into” character casting or even that much into writing the physical descriptions of characters, you may be wondering: Why Worry About Looks?

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

    There are so many ways to keep a casting book, but there’s really only one way to start: Always be on the lookout for images of people who strike a creative nerve inside you.

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

    Once you have cast your characters and begun the process of collecting images, you may find yourself thinking of scenes inspired by the images you see—and you may find images that fit scenes you’ve already written but which give you ideas for how to better describe your characters’ reactions or movements.

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

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

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