1. msjhord
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    msjhord Member

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    Envisioning your characters

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by msjhord, Jun 20, 2012.

    I know I do this when I am writing something. I pick someone, and it doesn't necessarily have to be someone I know, and model my characters after them. Just looks, not personality, ideals, convictions, etc. I try to collect photos of the person which, thanks to the internet, is really easy if I am imagining a well-known person. Different expressions, different clothing, etc. Was just curious if anyone else in these parts did a similar thing.
     
  2. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    Yes, I do imagine an image, may be a real live person or just some imaginary person, when I write a character. But I never look up photos for facial expressions or clothing, I never felt the need to do so. What I usually find myself doing is keenly observe real live facial expressions and mannarisms (specially when the person has unique expressions and that's why I am very good in mimicry) or simply observe unusual facial structures (immediately find myself searching for words to describe him/her :)). It's also interesting to observe introverts in a crowded place.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Like bill, I never go face hunting on the Internet. I form a composite image in my head,from the many thousands of faces I have seen throughout my life. The same goes for non-visual characteristics.

    I don't accumulate adjectives to describe the person though. I prefer not to nail my character down to that degree, to overconstrainn him or her.
     
  4. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    I usually don't go looking for pictures but there have been several occasions when I have either met or seen a picture of someone who makes me do a double-take because they look so much like my character.

    The example that was most shocking was a 17 year old character named Zach that is big (as in grown-up/muscular for his age) and had been since he was young. I was left staring with my jaw on the floor when I was first introduced to Zach (same name even) who was 14 at the time and looked like he should be at least 18.
     
  5. ithestargazer
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    ithestargazer Active Member

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    In the past I've done the old internet search but it's never really been helpful and I haven't done it in a few years. I've become so familiar with my characters now that they're ingrained in my mind. I might watch a movie or see someone on the street who has the rough look but there're always little things I envision for my characters that don't fit. For example one of my characters has a nasty gash on their face and I've never actually met a large red-headed man with a gash on his face.

    I find I just naturally picture them in my mind and once I'm happy with their 'look', it just sticks.
     
  6. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    I "cast" all my characters. Helps me focus. I know my readers won't get the same picture but I'm a visual writer so it helps me. I rarely find it constraining at all. (Only if the face is a bad fit. ;) ) If it's a good fit, it's quite the contrary. It works for me.
     
  7. msjhord
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    msjhord Member

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    Yeah, Show, I know what you mean. I must be a visual writer as well. I have done this as long as I have been writing.
     
  8. GillySoose
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    GillySoose Member

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    Some characters' faces just pop into my head, most of the rest tend to have blurry images for heads.
     
  9. JackElliott
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    JackElliott Senior Member

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    I don't even think about my character's physical appearance most times. Unless it is somehow unique or important to the story or reveals an aspect of their personality, it gets left out.
     
  10. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I always have a vision of what my character looks like, but it's never based on someone I'm cognizant of having seen. Sometimes people ask me to describe the physical appearance of my characters or compare them to someone famous, but that's often hard, because there's no one who's an exact match. I don't really know why I envision them the way I do -- in the same way I get a vision of a character I'm reading about. If they make a movie out of a book I've read, the character almost NEVER looks the way I pictured him or her.
     
  11. thetyper
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    thetyper Member

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    I often do this, but it isn't planned and doesn't help me fill their character out. Also, in my mind they sometimes change appearance as the story moves on so it's really not helpful. I'm not big on descriptions of characters anyway and better left to the reader to fill in the blanks.
     

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