Monday, May 27, 2013

Gratuitous Inspiration

I had written the first six to eight chapters of the manuscript now known as Seduction in His Smile when I walked into a Walmart checkout lane and saw Marcus Winfield, Duke of Selridge. Well, I didn't actually see THE duke. I mean, the only Duke I might see in the Wetumpka Walmart is the one-eyed one who works as the city dogcatcher or one of said dogcatcher's prisoners. What I saw was a male model on the back of Cosmopolitan magazine and I knew at once he was Marcus.

Now when it came to Tristan, the hero of my second book, I had written through the first love scene when my then CP sent me an e-mail with an attachment. The message simply said : "This is Tristan."

And trust me, ladies, he is. 

So here is my question. When you write, when you "see" your hero (or heroine) for the first time, have you already picked out an image in your mind? Have you paged through magazines and websites and found that perfect image before you begin to tell his (or her) story?

(This one's for you, Lexi!)

Do you see a photo or a filmclip and think "There's a story there." and begin to write?

I know many authors collage before they write or while they are writing. Do the images you find as inspiration change the way you write the hero (or heroine?)

I don't write westerns and this guy inspires me! Save a Horse! Ride a Cowboy! 

Rumor has it this guy is slated to play Christian Grey in the film version of 50 Shades of Grey. Hmmm. I've read all three books. This guy isn't quite who I pictured. That's the trouble with books being made into films. Each of us has our own vision of the characters we love. I can't imagine Harry Potter played by anyone other than Daniel Radcliffe, but is that because of the image I had in my head while reading the book or because the films and books are so ingrained in my psyche I can no longer separate them?

Now I've read The Hobbit a number of times. I never even fell in "Like" with Thorin Oakenshield, let alone LOVE! My image of the character was somewhere between Billy Barty and the Beast from Beauty and the Beast. But let me tell you, after seeing Richard Armitage as the Dwarf Prince I am all over some Dwarf Love!


And in case you are wondering, ladies, I haven't written stories for these gentlemen yet, but I will. You bet your sweet bicep I will. 

So how about it? Which comes first - the image or the character? Does anyone else have an extensive collection of gratuitous inspiration or am I the only dirty little old lady in the bunch? Does having an image of your characters help in the writing of the story or is it a hindrance? And if anyone has some suggestions for inspirational photos please do share! A writer can never have too much chocolate, too much wine, or two much gratuitous eye candy!


Meda White said...

Nice post, Louisa. My eyes are happy. I always finish the rough draft before I look for images of who might play my hero/heroine in the movie. Dreaming big in the B. A few of us got together after the last SM meeting and found that we all liked the Rock as hero inspiration. One of my characters is the Rock's body with Tom Welling's head. ***Insert slurpy noise*** Thanks again for the visuals. It's always nice to know who/what inspires.

Ella Quinn - Romance Novelist said...

I've never really seen men who look like my characters. Sad, but true. Loved the eye candy. Tweeted.

Ali Hubbard said...

Love the post and pics. I admit I'm all about the David Gandy candy. I like Stuart Reardon too . . . . . . . . I'm sorry. Was I saying something? Oh, anyway, I picture as I write, but I'm sure it will differ from what readers see. That's part of what I worry about in a cover. Don't want to limit the reader's imagination, but want a basis for it.

And Meda - I'm all about the Rock too! That's probably why I'll go see Fast and Furious 12 when it comes out in 2016. haha.

Real life images motivate me. Thought of a story line during a NASCAR race promo. May have to do a race series now. lol.
And I am anxiously awaiting the casting for 50 shades. I can't imagine anyone I'd be happy with because I KNOW WHAT CHRISTIAN LOOKS LIKE. haha

Louisa Cornell said...

That's a great technique, Meda. If you have written the entire draft you have a really great idea of what these people look like. And I happen to think the Rock is a cutie!

Louisa Cornell said...

So long as YOU know what they look like Ella I know with your writing the reader will see them as well!

Louisa Cornell said...

Ooh! I like your two picks as well, Ali! And like you I can see an article or a photo and sometimes and entire storyline will come to me.

Nancy S. Goodman said...

OOh Louisa this is a yummy post! The image in my mind comes first and I have so much fun looking for the match!

Louisa Cornell said...

That is sort of how I do it, Nancy! I have an idea of what my hero or heroine look like and then I shop for an actual image! Which can be lots of fun. And if I see an image I love that isn't quite that particular hero I save it for later.

Marie Higgins said...

A long time ago I used to drool over pics like this and try to write my stories around them. But I see them in my head - sort of. But now I don't need to look at a sexy pic to be inspired.

Louisa Cornell said...

Sometimes there is nothing like pure imagination, is there, Marie! :)

Chris Bailey said...

Usually I can see my main character, but I sometimes need a boost to see the villain. I like searching IMDB to find character actors with distinctive features.

Stephanie Jones AKA Alicia Hunter Pace said...

Very nice post!

Since Jean and I write together we often use pictures to communicate with each other how we "see" our characters.

Most recently I found just the look I imagined for our newest hero on television...much to my amazement it was a Viagra commercial!

Louisa Cornell said...

Oooh! Character actors are a great source for villains, Chris. The image I have for the villain in The Price of a Gentleman is Tim Curry. He does evil SO WELL! And believe or not the image for the villainess of The Price of a Gentleman is Emma Thompson!

Louisa Cornell said...

A Viagra commercial! Oh now that is just beyond perfect! And it must be interesting to come up with an image with two people writing.

Aidee Ladnier said...

I definitely do this. In fact, here's a character from a wip I'm still in love with --

Thanks for a great post. I reallllly enjoyed it.


Carla Swafford said...

I can say a couple of my heroes look like the Rock and Vin Diesel, but really that's just in the general scope.

More often than not, I'll give the height, eye and hair color but that's about it. Of course, I talk about how his skin feels, smells, tastes, the ridges and bulges, the hardness covered with...*cough* You get the idea. I let the readers decide what he looks like overall.

Thank you for the pictures. The one with the motorcycle has been a favorite for sometime now. Yum.

Louisa Cornell said...

So glad you enjoyed the post. And I can see why this guy stuck with you. He's a hottie!

Louisa Cornell said...

Well your descriptions of your heroes certainly work for me, Carla! :) And motorcycle guy is one of my favorites too.