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Thursday, April 15, 2010


I've mentioned before that I go looking for pictures of my characters. It's part of my pre-book process and one of the benefits is that it helps me keep their appearances straight all the way through the story. There have also been times when a picture has helped me discover a character trait that I might have suspected, but didn't know for sure. Like Deke. I suspected he was a smart aleck, but I didn't know just how much a part of his personality this was until I found "his" picture. Then he flooded me with his personality.

I rarely use actors because they're too well known and I want the pictures to be of more anonymous people. I'm not sure why. Maybe because it's harder to believe they're really my people when you look at an image and think, Orlando Bloom.

But as my search for my characters has become more sophisticated--as in I've become more practiced and have more resources bookmarked--a weird thing has started happening.

Normally, I check out modeling agency websites to cast my characters. Too many of them have smallish pictures and I always want to look at as many images as I can find. (BTW, agencies, do you seriously think disabling right click stops people from saving pictures? Hello? I can use a bookmarklet to get by that, or if you go with Flash, I use a screen capture. Or there's OneNote and it's fabulous screen clipping feature. All you're doing is inconveniencing me, not stopping me. But I digress.) Anyway, in the past, most of the agency sites I found had only the model's first name, but more and more have their last names now, too, so I do a search to see if I can turn up more pictures.

This is where the weirdness starts. Once I find a model that my character says is them, they become MY character and when I Google to find more pictures and turn up the model's Facebook page, it's just strange. Because I don't think of the models as "real" people with lives, they exist solely to become my characters. :-) Of course, maybe it's my mindset that's causing the weirdness.

But here's an example. I found pictures of the latest characters to invade my head and did a search to locate more shots of them. The model who is my heroine has a Facebook page...with friends. It's happened before, but it still weirds me out. The other strange thing is the picture she chose as her profile image is the same one I chose as the key image for my heroine. With dozens of pictures, I always choose one image that's the primary reference and stick the others in another folder for reference if the need arises. I also post the primary images on a personal website that no one can find in a search, so that they are private. I don't want to violate copyright, although I'd love to be able to share them on my blog.

It's easier for me, though, when the models stay unreal. Then it's easier for them to become my characters in my mind. The fact that this heroine's model has a Facebook page will fade and she'll become my heroine again, but it's still freaky to me when this happens.