Sunday, August 15, 2010

Character Look-a-likes

I am currently reading "Writing Great Books for Young Adults" by Regina Brooks. It's really great. I'll do a full review when I'm finished.

One thing she mentioned was keeping an on-going document about your character, including what they look like. The reader will pick up if the character has blue eyes in chapter one and brown eyes in chapter twenty. I do have on-going documents as I write and I update them as new things crop up, but another thing I do is find pictures that I can refer to. I go for actors and celebrities that look a little like the characters in my head. It works really well. For my current WIP I am using a picture of Alex Pettyfer for my male lead and Megan Fox for my female lead. My characters don't look exactly like these two people, but they are close enough and I find it really helpful when describing expressions and small distinctive features about the characters.

After reading a draft, one of the young test audience members said they thought the main character looked like Alex Pettyfer - awesome :)

I don't use this method for every character in my story, but often for the leads and the frequent secondary characters. Sometimes I can't think of an actor who is similar, so the character remains an image in my head, but I do find it really helpful to have pictures of my characters pasted up around me as I write.

What do you guys do?
How do you get a good mental image of your characters?

Hope everyone has a great week :)


  1. Keeping tabs on what your characters look like and act like is really important. I have a pretty clear picture of my characters but I still keep a file. I remember reading several books (especially in series where a characters eyes will suddenly be different.

  2. "Writing Great Books for Young Adults" sounds like a great book to read.

  3. It's such a chore finding pictures of cute guys to be the hero in my book...*sigh.* Ha! I do the same. I like to have a base to refer to for my hero and heroine (I write romance novels). Have fun with yours!