Thursday, February 17, 2011

Inspiration In Reverse

Sometimes people ask where I get the inspiration for my characters. Though they're all fictional, I do take some cues from real life from time to time. Particularly with descriptions. Sometimes I take a picture of an actor or model and use that to ground my descriptions of the character; sometimes I mix it up and combine a feature I like from one person with a feature I like from someone else. (I'm sounding like Dr. Frankenstein here!)

But for Take A Chance On Me, my upcoming book from Samhain, I just developed the character descriptions off the top of my head - no celebrities, no real-life friends, just a picture in my head of how the characters looked.

TACOM was the first full-length manuscript I wrote, and it's been through a lot of revisions since it was first put down on paper (or pixels, as the case may be). But one thing has remained steady - how Tom Cameron looked.

So it was startling, to say the least, when I went to make up my cover art sheet and started delving into the descriptive text a little deeper, to get more specific in my request.

Because what I discovered was that the description sounded a whole heck of a lot like this guy.

And yes, he's one of my favorite actors - NOW. Back when I wrote the book, I'd never even heard of Eric Sheffer Stevens before.

To tell you the truth, it was a little spooky. :)

I can honestly say this is the first time I've ever found the inspiration for a character description well after the book was written.

Do you like seeing visuals of characters in books, or do you prefer picturing them on your own? How important is the physical description of the characters to you?


PG Forte said...

okay, that is spooky.

I met a guy once who was the exact image of one of my heroes. I found it surprisingly hard to separate the two.

When I'm reading, I find I create my own picture of the characters and it doesn't always match up with what the author's described. Oops. ;)

Stevie Carroll said...

I like to know what characters look like, and it bugs me if I find out partway through a story that someone looks nothing like I was imagining.

On the other hand, I suppose having no description might give me free rein to place one of my non-standard, not conventionally goodlooking, character images in there.