Sunday, November 1, 2009

Casting Your Characters

I don't know about you, but I sometimes have trouble "seeing" my characters vividly if I don't have a pretty good grip on their physical appearance. They tend to be sort of vague and faceless as I write, unless I "cast" them. This may not work for everyone, but something that helps me is to have a particular actor/actress in mind for the "role" I'm writing.

Before even starting my book, during the characterization process, I "cast" my main characters, figuring out which actor/actress would most physically fit the description in my head. That way, their features are stronger when I write because my brain is already familiar with that image. For example, the two main characters (Brooke & Adam) in one of my novels, are "cast" as Reece Witherspoon and a Welsh actor named Ioan Grufudd.

Another trick I use to help me picture things more vividly - and I know this sounds a little extreme - is to create a screensaver on my computer that's got the character pictures, and places for the setting (in this case, a village in the Cotswolds).

This, for me, creates vivid images in my mind that I'm able to (hopefully) transfer to the page. Because if I can see it, I can write it. Plus, it's fun! I love creating this screensaver during the brainstorming process because it gets me involved in the story/setting/characters early on. Anybody else use these tricks? Or others? I'd love to hear about them...


  1. Hi, Traci! It's nice to meet you! Thanks for coming over to Write in the Way!

    That's a great idea! I never thought of doing that but might have to try it!

  2. Hi Kristen - thanks so much for posting! I really enjoy your blog, as well. So much great advice!

  3. Good idea! Here's something else that may be helpful to writers....keeping a notebook with each page titled 'Hair', 'Eyes', 'Mannerisms',
    'Voice', etc...and making notes to possibly use for future characters. For ex., someone you saw on a bus or train....someone you met recently, etc. It could even be comments heard.
    You just never know when it ignites that spark to write.