How often have you wondered about what brought the characters in a book to the first time they appear on a page? I do all the time.
We don’t get to meet them until they are crucial to the story. But who are they? Why do they behave the way they do? What do they look like?
Recently I read an article about Stephenie Meyers and her vision of the character Edward in the Twilight series.
My daughter showed me the first movie long before I read the books, so Robert Pattinson was always Edward to me. It therefore came as a shock to realise that Stephenie’s Edward might have looked somewhat different.
It makes me wonder what people see reading my first novel.
No, it’s not out yet. It does get read though. Each time I finish a chapter it gets e-mailed out to a group of readers for their critique. Each reader brings a different viewpoint and set of skills to their critique. Some attack the grammar and spelling, others the plot.
From all ages they do keep me busy when they send back their thoughts on what is good and what doesn’t work.
I have a very concrete vision of how my main character looks and acts. He has green eyes, a slight kink in his nose, and dislikes the colour red. His greatest weaknesses are his tendency to be stubborn and proud. He thinks his ears are too big. His friends and family trust him because they know he is a good guy who takes too many risks in trying to protect them.
He is so responsible that he never says no when asked to do something. Which frequently leads him into tough places.
For a long time I knew in my head who he is, and what he looks like. Now I really know. Watching a DVD one night before I headed for bed was the catalyst for how I now see him. Not that I knew it at the time.
Later that night I was dreaming away – chapter 2 was forming itself in my head – and for the first time his face and body took on a form. Now I can’t see him any other way.
One of the first things I did after waking, other than scribble down the dream that was chapter 2, was to go online and check out the guy I had dreamed of in my character’s role.
He is now my screensaver, as well as my desktop. Whenever I get stuck, I check out the photos and he becomes real again.
The kids think this is a bit weird. They don’t say so but I see their looks when the computer screensaver starts. There is no going back now. He will forever look the way he does at this moment for me.
No matter who plays him in the movie !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!