I am one of those who uses actors as avatars for my characters.
When I visualize things, it is often in quick flashes. I don’t get the long camera takes. It’s there and gone. So I often do not get real visuals on my characters.
So I cast my stories like you would a movie.
In the beginning I would try to find a pic where the actor was wearing clothes similar to what would fit in the story. After many a time where this was not an option, I began instead to look for pictures where the expression on their face matched what I knew about the character.
Hindsight being what it is. I should have been doing that from the beginning. But I tend to take the long way around on things.
A curious fact, I have used Sean Bean more times than any other actor.
There is one case where a picture of an actor started a story. Matt Smith, during the wardrobe tests for Doctor Who, wore a coat and had an expression that to my mind put him in the role of a hit man.
The twist came with the decision to cast the story with actors only from the triad of SuperWhoLock.
For those who are unfamiliar, SuperWhoLock is the combined fandoms of Supernatural, Doctor Who, and BBC’s Sherlock.
Here is the link to my Pinterest board for that story. It has a fatal plot premise, but I do need to use those characters.
Two other examples would be for an urban supernatural story and a Western.
On a level I do envy those who can come up with original visuals for their characters. But it is not something I worry on and instead enjoy my whirl as a casting director.
Now if only some of them could be persuaded to follow me to this couch.
17 thoughts on “A – Z Challenge: Day 1 – Avatars”
Oh I so need a real human being with real clothes(!) to describe my characters. Anything else I’m good, but physical character details are my downfall.
Looking forward to reading your A-Z. Please drop by mine, if you’re so inclined. 😀
Oh yeah, trying to describe enough without going overboard on it is ever so much fun. And will give yours a look. Have fun!
I always wished I could draw. I have these characters that I’ve been playing with for close to 20 years, and I know exactly what they look like, but haven’t found pictures that match them.
Good start to A to Z!
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I know what you mean about drawing. I luck out with the actors I find. Maybe try the NaNo forums, see if you can find artists wanting to expand their portfolion
Creativity is fascinating, writing especially. All kinds of ideas–what does your character have in his pocket? Who would his friend/lover be?
It does make for interesting times. And frustrating ones.
Sean Bean sounds like a great model to me! I’m not very visually inclined, so I find it hard to picture characters sometimes.
I know what you mean. Sometimes I can’t see a character til just something about an actor says that is the one.
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When I was younger, I used to do this a lot, though I never used actors… more, I used illustrations or fan-art of fictional characters. I guess I felt strange using a real person’s photo! Like I’d get in trouble. These days I use my own visuals, but even so, certain archetypes pop up quite frequently. Like your Sean Bean problem, I have a lot of people who seem to just be carbon copies of one of my favorite “skins”.
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Think it was easier for me coming from fanfic. I was using actors already so made it easy to continue, just using my own worlds.
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Very nice! I look forward to seeing more in the A to Z.
Thank you. Hope you enjoy.
That’s a most interesting way of going about things. I don’t often see details of my characters until I need them. Sometimes I sit down and decide what they look like to begin with, but sometimes I just run with it and they come about as I write. I do have a couple that have elements of actors in them though, mostly because the idea came to me as fanfic and then was completely changed, but the lead stayed looking the same :).
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I always have trouble picturing my own characters. Your approach sounds good.
Glad I could give you an idea to play with.
I used to do this too, but the previous characters they played started affecting the roles I wrote them into. I don’t do much creative writing anymore but I’d prefer to take traits from real people around me nowadays.
I will do real life in a limited way, but I’ve been okay so far catching past roles sneaking in. *knock wood*
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