In honour of the Fall Fires blog tour, I decided to give the authors the same guest post, and get their insight into how they picture their characters.
This time is the turn of N. L. Leeks, author of Winter’s Love
A past relationship has left Jared Winter broken. When Eric Healey runs into him, Jared finds a reason to learn to trust again. The two men begin to fall for one another, but the prejudice around them threatens to tear them apart. Can their love survive in the real world?
When you write, do you have a specific picture of the characters in your mind that you work from, or do you allow them freedom to grow as you write? Also, does it bother you if your readers see your characters in a different way?
Almost every time that I have written a characters description, features, characteristics etc I already have an image in my mind. It’s not the case all the time, but most of the time, my mind has already painted a canvas of what I see. For example, I imagine a totally blank canvas and start with a facial outline, add in structure like cheek bones, whether they will have a thin face, rounded with dimples. Next come the features, eyes, nose, lips, chin, all the usual things required to make a face. Lastly will come their dress sense, attributes, before listing their , characteristics. By the end of the whole mental process, I have a fully painted canvas of the character I want.
Though it doesn’t always end up staying that way, I occasionally have to let them grow into the story, as the plan doesn’t always stay as it started. Once it starts to change, then the character isn’t always suited to it, so I have to tweak that canvas.
Of course it doesn’t bother me if my readers envision someone different. If you and I were asked to read the description of someone, and then go off and draw said someone, I guarantee you that we would come back with totally different pictures. What my mind sees, won’t be what you see. Our minds will interpret it differently.
On top of that, there are some readers who will think up a totally different character, because they don’t think the one written is suited. I’ve done it a few times. It doesn’t mean that the character described is all wrong, it just doesn’t work me, so I’ll think up something else and run with that. I am sure we all do it from time to time.
Going back to my own characters, if I told you Jared has shoulder length blonde hair, baby blue eyes, a thinnish face with a wide smile and lithe and wiry body, then showed you the picture of him used in the cover of my book, you wouldn’t see that. No doubt you would see something different. If you trawled the net, then you would find a picture that suited your vision, but again, wouldn’t match my own.
I’m starting to repeat myself so I’ll end that there.
N.L. Leeks lives in England with her fiancé, whom she has been with since the age of eighteen. She first began writing when she was a child. Her friends, Matt and Lou, helped her reignite that passion as an adult, and her journey into writing began once more.