Visual Inspiration

December 8, 2011

Something I’ve noticed that many of my romance writing cohorts do is find visual inspiration for their heros and heroines. From celebrities to models to athletes, on twitter or blogs or on their own bulletin boards, seeking inspiration from real people makes total sense.

And yet, I can’t seem to do it. Part of this might come from the fact that I often have my characters well defined in my head before I even begin to plot or write, so a “real” person doesn’t match any of what I’ve come up with. One time I spent way too long sorting through google images trying to find the perfect dark-haired, blue-eyed man to be the inspiration for my hero. I came up with nothing. Plenty of good looking men who fit the broad parameters, but none of them seemed like my guy.

In truth, I’m a little bit jealous of those people that can find pictures to create that image they can go back to again and again. It seems like it would be such a neat thing to have.

This is especially on my mind now, as I should be getting a cover for my first novel any day now. I can’t help but wonder if the image created will match the image in my head (should hero and/or heroine appear).

Is finding visual inspiration your first step in the process? A must-do before you begin to write? Or are you like me, always finding those “real” people not matching up to the people you’ve created?



2 Responses to “Visual Inspiration”

  1. I picked pics for my last four heros and heroines, but I did so after the fact, after the story had been written. The faces I pulled off Google Images aren’t exact, but they resonate enough with me that when I’m having trouble adding a specific trait, I refer to the picture, and it does help. Is it a must-do? No, especially not after the malware I dealt with, which I firmly believe came from grabbing celebrity pics off seedy sites. 🙂


  2. I’ve heard that advice before — stick up a picture that you think looks like your protagonist. Never works for me. I always think, this person is someone else, not MY person. Who the heck are you to think you’re anything like my person? My people are always clear in my mind from the gitgo, not so much physical as personality-wise. The physical may or may not develop as I write the story. The fact is, I’ve suffered enough from being judged by my physical (which is not bad, just never fit in to the “cheerleader” type) that I refuse to consider it important. Which, I think, is why I still prefer books to movies — I’ll fill in the physical if I want to, thank you. “Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful but men seldom realized it when caught by her charms.” Who needs more than that?

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