I love looking at photographs of people. Each person has a million stories to tell, a million secrets in their eyes. My favorite photos are black and white, but not necessarily old. The lack of color makes the secret stranger, gives the subject a mysterious look. When I see someone starting out at me from a photograph, I can’t help but imagine who they are, how they game to have that expression, where they are going. I stare back. And then I write.
Characters are the heart of any story. If the characters don’t work for me I won’t continue, whether I am reading our writing. So I put a lot of effort into creating my characters and one of the first things I always do is find their face.
Some writers can describe a face perfectly and have it set in their minds. I’m not one of them. I can describe a building to the smallest detail and see the whole thing in my mind (though this level of description can be a bad thing for a novel, so I don’t employ it) but all me to visualize a face and I am lost. So I find faces that resemble how I imagine my characters.
Maybe you think I’m crazy, and that’s okay, but if I have a photo in front of me, I don’t waste precious words trying to get the exact write image to my readers. Instead, I give broad brushstrokes. But when I don’t have that photo, I try to describe every minute detail and it becomes word soup.
If you are like me, I highly suggest that you look for your characters before you describe them. Who knows, you may find someone brand new that calls to you and demands to have their story told.
How do you go about creating characters? Do you search for them or do they find you? How do you describe them?
Take care, fellow travelers.
- It’s all about character (sastevens72.wordpress.com)