Character development. Are you influenced?

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I was struggling with a topic for today’s posting when someone tweeted at me: “might I suggest posting some pics of hot guys? ^^”  Well, I love hot guys as much as the next straight single woman, but it doesn’t really go along with the whole ‘write about writing’ thing.  They then suggested I discuss such men as inspiration or uses for character development. That, I could work with.

I’ve heard a lot of writers will use actors and musicians as inspiration for their characters.  They base the character’s looks on the person and sometimes even character traits.  That doesn’t sit right with me.  I think one of the reasons I stay away from such practices is because I don’t want to un/consciously base my characters on real people.  That’s not to say I can’t be inspired to give my characters gorgeous eyes like Ian Somerhalder, but I want to be sure I’m not giving my character personality traits based on any of his characters. Know what I mean?


When I come up with a character, I spend the least amount of time on their looks.  The personality traits, background and attitude are more what I focus on. Physically I’ll give them a basic build: Tall, lanky, broad shouldered, curvy, etc.  Hair and eye colors and maybe if they wear glasses, have braces, etc. I would rather allow my reader to come up with their own picture, their own fantasy, rather than preach to them what they should be imagining.


Having said all that, I admit it’s entertaining, after the fact, searching through actors and models for those who might fit the character I already developed. I took time last night to look for some folks who might fit the love interests in my Tears of a Clown story. (Warning: If you’re going to Google image search hot biker guys or hot preppy teens, be sure to have the safe search on otherwise you’re going to get a lot of ummm images inappropriate to post on your blog. This warning goes doubly if you’re doing your searching while sitting in a public place where people can look over your shoulder…)

The first love interest that appears in the story is Charles ‘Chaz’ Michael Worthington the Third.  He’s preppy, friendly and smart. An all round popular nice guy. I describe him as being in shape, broad shouldered, a great smile, brown hair and eyes both with golden tones. I found this actor, Nico Tortorella. Look at that smile! Exactly what I imagined. Just preppy enough. Hair is maybe a little lighter than I thought but hey those things can be easily changed these days. 
It’s a little darker in this other picture, more what I image, but my Chaz is not so serious. Put that smile back on Nico!


He’s probably my first runner up should ya know, anyone want to turn my farce of a story into some summer smash hit big screen comedy, providing he can act. It’s got to be more than looks ladies and gents.

Another contender for Chaz is Jared Padalecki. CUTE! I guess he’s from that show Supernatural? I don’t watch it but I could definitely see him as Chaz. I dig the intentionally messy hair thing he has going on as well.   Here he is with slightly shorter hair. Look at that dimple! Too cute.
 

Part of my problem with these searches is the whole age thing. I have a horrific time guessing someone’s age. These guys are probably way too old for the roles, but I still kind of felt like a dirty ‘old’ woman for googling hot teen boys. (DO NOT Google hot teen boys…unless, ya know…you’re looking for pr0n…) 

Next we move onto Judd Marshall. He’s the bad boy. Dark brown almost black hair. Smoldering hazel eyes. Biker. James Marsden  totally fits my ideal in these pictures, although he definitely can’t play the teen roles anymore…but ooh if he could, I would definitely want to introduce him to my Kitchen of Action. Yum.

I did find someone who wasn’t a perfect match to my ideal, but I think he could work the role with the right attitude. Milo Ventimiglia. A little more on the lanky side than I would have pictured Judd, but the hint of the tattoo peaking out definitely helps his bad boy appeal.  The picture with the super short hair is definitely more bad assed.

Lastly, I found this great shot (totally by accident) of Jared and Milo together!  Chaz and Judd were once good friends, so this fit perfectly!  Those of you following along with the story, do any of these guys fit your idea of Chaz or Judd? I’d be curious to know.

If you’ve made it through the maze of good looking guy photos, hope you enjoyed! But seriously, I’d be interested in hear how others go about bringing their characters to life. Are you one who finds an ideal first and builds your character off of them? Are you influenced by the characters they play or the person they are in ‘real’ life?  Are you influenced by other literary characters? How detailed to you get when first creating your characters? Do you sketch them? Have a checklist where you mark off attributes? Or do you just wing it with bare minimums, leaving the hard work up to your readers?

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6 responses »

  1. I can see Nico as Chaz. For Judd what I imagined in my head don't match up to your picks at all.

    I tried once to find real people for a story but I didn't really find anyone. Haven't done it since and I don't think I will. I like letting the reader imagine their own version of my characters.

  2. It's hard right? I keep seeing these discussions about things like the Hunger Games and the Mortal Instruments movies where people are complaining ooh such and such is not how I'd picture: Jace/Peeta/etc.

    I don't know that I really think that much about it, you know? I have a vague idea but I rarely see people that totally match up…I think it's probably better that way.

  3. I did, thank you! :D

    Yes, he is quite adorable. I should probably watch that show. Sad that these guys are probably way too young for me. *Le sigh* the life of a cougar wanna-be :D

  4. Sorry, did you say something? I didn't get past Ian. ;)

    I'm the opposite. I do use TV or movie characters as inspiration for mine. Jack Wheeler was inspired by Eliot Spencer from Leverage. Eliot is a dangerous man with a mysterious past. We don't know everything about him so I imagined what experiences he might have had as a young man and used those ideas to drive Jack.

    Let me tell ya, it's a lot of fun doing 'research'.

  5. Yeaaaaah I am a sucker for the dark hair light eyes combo and Ian has some of the most gorgeous eyes I've ever seen :D

    It's cool if it works for you. Obviously different things work for different people. I guess I am just concerned I will lean too heavily on what I know about a person rather than come up with my own ideas.

    I am sure the research gets one's juices flowing ;)

    /I just crossed the line, didn't I?…:-X

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