Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Character Box

I have this hat box where I keep pictures I've collected from magazines of faces that grabbed me. Some are actors, some are random pictures from the newspaper or candid shots, others are nameless models. I've been collecting them for probably twenty years now. Then, when I start getting an idea for a story in my head, I'll cull through the stash and find a face that fits the character. Most times when I add a picture to my stash I don't know if it will ever be used. But it's there in case I ever need it. Other times, like yesterday, I find a picture and know beyond a doubt that this picture will become a character.

I arrived at work yesterday and the newspapers were on the table. The Globe & Mail has a magazine that comes with it every few months or so called Driven. It's a car magazine, near as I can tell. I usually flip through and see if there are any character pixs I might want to grab, but the magazine is usually pretty dry. Except for yesterday. Yesterday a few pages into the magazine, this picture jumped out at me, smacked me in the hormones and said HELLO.

I cut it out of the magazine, scanned it and brought the hard copy picture home. I don’t know who he is yet, but I know he's going to show up somewhere soon.

Does anyone else do that? Collect pictures? How do you find your faces for your characters?

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I usually go with actors I've seen on TV, then go and look them up on IMDB. Sometimes I go with magazine pictures, but I don't normally cut them out. Make my husband nervous. :)

Anne M said...

I save pictures for heroes too. I like unknowns so the personality doesn't interfere with my own idea of the character. I find a lot of male models are too young and smooth - I like a person with a little character on their face.

I did have a hockey player as a model for a character - his personality matched my hero's. I put them on my desktop. Kids think it's weird.

Kelly said...

Yeah, I find a lot of male models these days are too boyish looking. I like them more rugged and manly. This guy is good. Looks like he could chop some wood and shovel my driveway without putting up a fuss. And I'd reward him handsomely for it to. :-)

Melissa Marsh said...

I just bought the new People magazine - Sexiest Man of the Year edition. I buy it every year and use it for inspiration. ;-)

Tess said...

For my historicals I go through portraits from the period. I still haven't quite found the right pics for my contemp characters. My hero is 50, and I'm discovering most models in magazines are much younger than that. My heroine is 42, so it'll be a little easier for her.

annette said...

When my characters pop into my head, I usually can "see" what they look like. So no, I don't use pictures.

julia said...

I always cast an actor/actress for the characters, then hunt down shots from films they've been in which mirror the moods of the character. Then I arrange them in a small collage, usually not glued to anything, just placed in a grouping either on my inspiration board or on the desk between the keyboard and monitor.

Christine Wells said...

I find that some people's personalities leap off the page and it's when I have that kind of connection that I cut them out. It doesn't happen too often because models in magazines tend to have that rather vacant look about them and most of them look too tanned and American for my novels (I write Regency historicals), but when I find someone good, I just *know*. Your guy here is cute but his personality oozes off the page. That's the kind of thing I look for.

Rene said...

My characters come from my head. I'm not a particularly visual person so looking at a picture doesn't help me much.

MaryF said...

I have a folder of bookmarks with actor/actress pictures for potential characters. None worked for my ner heroine, though!