Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Finding Your Characters

I feel like I haven't posted in a while.  I didn't have much to say.  Um, I keep waiting for my friend to put up pictures from FEAST WITH THE BEAST, where being the five-year-old children we are, me and my friends from the pit orchestra got pictures with all of the cast in costume.  We are the definition of class.  And you will get to see Lumiere, Gaston, and the rest. 

To begin with, I had my first serious critique of a chapter of my novel today.  I got a lot of feedback (we have a class of eight, so we go pretty in-depth).  It will streamline the story, make everything better.  I want moar!  This is fun!  I wish, wish, wish, we had serious critique groups where I live. If I lived in a big city or a suburb, this wouldn't be a problem.  But we just don't have stuff like that around here.  We don't have writer's conferences nearby either.  I would love to get a group of novelists together and meet once a week to talk about ways to improve.  Wish I could.

So, Lady Glamis had this picture of one of her characters.  Jealous!  I have a hard time visualizing my characters.  I do the minimal, necessary description, and I back off.  First, I personally am not a fan of authors going on and on about what their character looks like.  Second, as a writer, I want my readers to have their own impressions.  Movies destroy that (and I'm skeptical of books-turned-movies).  But for my own reference, I want a picture of my MC.  I don't like actresses or photos.  I prefer drawings.  I'm old skool like that.  I dabble around DeviantArt sometimes, but I still haven't found the drawing/painting that makes me go, OMG, THAT'S MEG.  I need a cool artist friend who will draw her.

Do you like some visualization of your MC?  Do you prefer hardcore description from authors or is a basic hair/eyes rundown okay?


  1. I sometimes do sketches of my characters, but mostly I look around online for photos. Drawings are okay, but I prefer my characters to look real (but definitely no celebrities or actress pictures)

    Description-wise, I give the minimum physical details. Instead I try to characterize the person by filtering it through the point of view narrator. Show the reader the character's and personality etc through his dress/mannerism/actions.

  2. oh, manuscript critiques. the good ol' days ... when i lived near orlando, i was part of a writer's workshop that met once a week for somewhere between 8-10 weeks. we did writing prompts weekly, and every week (except for week 1), we spent half of the class time critiquing 20 double-spaced pages of someone's ms. awesome feedback. i miss it so ...

    now i live in the boonies. :(

    p.s. sorry about the no capital letters bit. i know proper rules of english. really, i do. (okay, at least most of the time.) but i'm lazy today.

  3. I have a good picture of my two main characters because my writing technique is tied to visualization. If I didn't, if they were just words on a page to me as an author, I'd be afraid that they'd be even less to my readers.

    I'm jealous that you're in a critique group, however small. I would love to be able to sit down and pore through my WIP with other writers also wanting to share their works.

    Oh, and FEAST WITH THE BEAST sounds like a blast : )

  4. We've struggled to find a writer's group too. People here either write picture books or ultra serious adult fiction. It's tough for them to "get" our voice. Ugh.

  5. I'm really bad at visualizing my characters, but at the same time I know how they look--sort of. >.< I wish I could spend more time developing the ability to draw. It would sure make things easier.

  6. I usually don't do too much visualizations with my MCs. Sometimes I try to do sketches and then I remember that I can't draw very well, haha. Sometimes I look up actors/models, but it's hard to find people that look exactly like I want them to.

    I like it when authors give description of their characters. Not Twilight-esque SO BEAUTIFUL description, but just enough to give me an idea. When I do description, I usually just stick to height, hair and eye color, and then a distinctive feature about the face - like a crooked nose or something. I like leaving some characteristics up to the reader's imagination.

  7. Like the contrast of opinions!

  8. Lisa and Laura - YA rules.

    greenconverses - Sometimes, SM is beating me over the head with the "Edward is beautiful" hammer.