- Top Ten Writer Tips
- Creating Credible Characters
- Making POV Work For You
- Manuscript 101 (formating & more)
- Writing the Romance Novel
- The Inspirational Element
The topic I want to highlight today is Be Your Own Casting Director. Kaye has written a 6 part series on creating a casting book to help storyboarding. Click on the link to get to the first of her series. She goes into great detail on the "how to's" and the "why's". Today I want to show you how I took her instructions and started my own!
First, Kaye showed how she keeps a spreadsheet of movie stars, models, professional ball players, etc who she thinks would make great models for a character. She then inputs their info (hair color, eye color, height, birthdate, etc) into a spreadsheet. She can sort this spreadsheet to look for actors with blue eyes or actresses with brown hair to find one to represent a character she is developing. See her series to download her spreadsheet template. You can then use it as is, or do as I did and delete the names I didn't know and start adding names of my own.
Here is a picture of my spreadsheet:
Now that you've found the actress you are looking for, you can go to your Casting Book to find pictures of her to spark your writing and give you different facial expressions to use in your writing.
Now, you need to visit Kaye's site to get detailed instructions on how to do this, but basically, you use Power Point to organize photos of actors. It is like a catalog of headshots that you can look through to choose your ideal character! Create a slide for each actor and alphabetize for easy sorting. Kaye has so many that she creates a folder for each letter of the alphabet.
Here is a look at one that I created:
Now isn't that the coolest thing? Seriously, this is so easy and so much fun. Annnd, it is a GREAT way to procrastinate your editing. ;)
So what is your way of creating the look of your characters? Are you visual and need pictures? Or do you have it all in your head?
P.S. Remember to check out Kaye Dacus! She not only has great writing tips, but is a fabulous author of both contemporary and historical fiction.
ADDENDUM: Kay left a comment which I thought was so cool, I wanted to add it here. Another new tool for you.....
I'm going to throw everyone for a loop and add a new twist to this . . . in addition to keeping my casting book images in Power Point (and I have a folder for "actors" and one for "actresses," with a separate document for each letter of the alphabet), for my last two novels, I've incorporated Microsoft One Note, which came with MS Office 2007, as the place where I collect all of the images I need for my WIP.
I posted screen captures of them in this post:
Another great resource for collecting images of characters are stock photo sites. My favorite is http://www.jupiterimages.com. I set up an account (a username/password) so that the images don't have watermarks on them. It's where I found the heroines for books 2 and 3 of the Matchmakers series---and they actually used one of the images I selected for the front cover of The Art of Romance. See---while it's fun to do, it can also come in quite handy when sending cover-art info to a publisher!