Finding the right face

Helen started it.  (I’m hoping some of the other Riders will post pics of their current hero/heroines, too.  It’s fun to compare notes.)  So I started a new book on Monday and the working title is A Year And A Day.  It’s not sold.  I’m just working up the idea because these two characters are in my brain and won’t let go, so if I can at least write it down, then my mind will quiet and I can go back to the real work (aka The Book That I’m Actually Getting Paid To Write).

A lot of times when I start a story I have the image of the hero in mind.  Then I rush to the internet and search until I find a match so I can place it on my desktop.  It really helps me to have pictures to visualize the characters.  For me, the right face makes the story flow from my fingertips.

So this is another vampire story.  The mortal heroine (tentatively titled Lark) was once married to a vampire slayer who was tortured for a year and a day by vampires, then returned to her after they’d bitten him.  He begged her to stake him because becoming a vamp is the worst of the worst.  She did it (not without much angst).  So now she’s vowed revenge in her hubby’s name by killing one vampire for every day they tortured him. I saw this pic of Angelina Jolie and it was all in the eyes.  Some kind of cold, calculating look there.  Emotionless, and yet, the hint of compassion if you look real close.  She immediately became Lark.

Yeah, I could see her wielding a stake.
Now the hero is a vampire who was captured by werewolves and forced into the Blood Games.  It’s what the mean werewolves do.  They capture vampires, starve them, keep them under UV lights (inducing UV sickness which causes burns, extreme light sensitivity, stripped veins, and a bunch of other nasty stuff), and after a month or so, they pit these tortured vampires against one another in a battle to the death.  The hero, Domingos, survived for six months and he’s, well…he’s a little bit insane after it all.  I knew right away who he would look like.
You can’t really see what he looks like, but he could be really scary under that hat and shadow.  Is he smirking because he’s going to kill you, or because he’s remembering when life was sane? When the heroine first meets him he’s bedraggled, tattered, yet focused, set on a quest to kill all the werewolves who drove him insane.  (Yeah, I  know, this story is heavy.  Lots of torture going on.  I think he’s my most tortured hero—literally—so far.) 
Two opposites that don’t belong together, but need each other desperately.  The heroine plays violin to escape her crazy world, and she will discover the hero was once a cellist, but music sets him off now, spinning him into an insane tirade.  I think music will eventually bring them together.  🙂 
Here’s another pic of the hero (he is Perttu Kivilaakso of the cello-rock band Apocalyptica).  Sigh…  Musicians are so romantic (even the ones with fangs).  

So tell me, when you read a story do you envision the character in your mind?  As an actor or famous face?  Or do you create your own hero and heroine?

This entry was posted in angelina jolie, hero and heroine, perttu kivilaakso, writing characters. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Finding the right face

  1. Betina Krahn says:

    Wow, Michelle, I hardly know where to start– except– when can I get my hands on this book? Tortured I can do (reading wise) as long as I don't have to endure every agonizing moment along with the character. Like in the old days of sex– closing the door on it is far more effective for me. Just start the torture and then fade to black. My imagination and emotions will do the work for you!And ain't that what good writing is all about? Getting the reader's imagination to leap into the story and do the heavy lifting?

  2. Betina Krahn says:

    Oh, and there's a cello rock band? I'm off to I-Tunes right now!

  3. krisgils33 says:

    The book sounds really cool!! I love those tortured souls, I think they make the best characters! I create the character in my mind. Since I'm not much of a TV-watcher or movie-goer, I would have some difficulty relating a book character to an actor.

  4. Cindy Gerard says:

    Wow, Michelle. You started this on Monday and have 100 pages? i am so impressed – and a little worried about you … or about me … Such productivity is crazy good and more than a little intimidating. And I love the characterizations. You have those two nailed. Way to go.I don't generally have anyone specific in mind until AFTER I've developed the character a little deeper. Then, when I have a clear picture of who he or she is, I can equate them to a celeb. Right now, I'm writing Luke – Doc Holliday – Colter's story. Always thought I knew him pretty well until I saw him through the heroine's eyes … and now I have a whole new perspective on the man. Love those kind of surprises.

  5. Michele Hauf says:

    Yeah, Betina, I will definately close the door on the torture. I figure the aftereffects and the emotional toll on the people are the strongest elements. And giving the heroine the chance to heal the hero, and in turn he heals her when she didn't even know she needed it.And, yes, Apocalyptica! I highly recommend them. If you love soundtrack music to work by I just downloaded a video game soundtrack they did called: MAG: S.V.E.R. It's very moody! And my fav song of there's lately is BITTERSWEET. They have guest vocalists on some of their tracks and END OF ME and PATH, VOL 2, and i DON'T CARE are must buys.I was expecting people to cringe at my mention of torture, so I appreciate your comment!Cindy, I sometimes start out with an image then after drafting the story out, it changes. Seeing through the other character's eyes is a great way to learn more about them. And don't worry. This kind of mega page count doesn't happen all the time. But when a story is new and it just wants to get out, well then. 🙂

  6. CrystalGB says:

    Hi Michele. Your book sounds great. I usually visualize the hero/heroine from the description that the author gives. I don't visualize a famous person as the characters.

  7. Leanne says:

    I'm easy.:) I usually visualize the hero and heroine based on the cover unless I don't like the cover models.:) Go YOU on 100 pages!!!

  8. Wow. streaming 100 pp in less than a week is awesome, Michele. Maybe I'll go look for some pictures.If I see a face or a setting in a mag that draws me in I might file it, but I generally get into a character though sound. I hear the voice. Then I'll start seeing movement, often beginning with hands, then some kind of locomotion. The face forms through expressions rather than features. When I get a cover, I'm generally able to focus on how I think it'll do in the marketplace because it's never really my image of the character, which isn't static.

  9. Keri Ford says:

    wow! heavy and deep and the characters you've picked seem a perfect fit! good luck on it.

  10. lois greiman says:

    I usually start to see the characters after I've lived with them a while. Your hero in the hat looks like Depp. Coincidence? I think not.

  11. Michele Hauf says:

    Interesting, Kathy, that you start with voice! Love that. I do like to hear my characters, too, and sometimes they're very different at the end, than from the beginning.

  12. Minna says:

    Well, it's nice to see another Finn here! *g*Also I usually visualize the hero and the heroine from the description that the author gives and of course the picture on the cover helps. And it's kind of dissapointing if the cover and the description don't match. Now how many times I've read about heroes with scars, yet the face of the guy on the cover is as smooth as baby's butt? I think the only time I've actually seen a scar on the cover was when I picked one of Code Name: Danger books by Merline Lovelace.

  13. jeanette8042 says:

    I don't use faces of actors/actresses when imagining the characters, I just try to use my own imagination and the descriptions to envision them. Love the cover for Seducing The Vampire!

  14. chey says:

    I do envision the characters. I generally use my imagination.

  15. Maureen says:

    I create the characters in my mind based on the descriptions of the author.

  16. mariska says:

    usually I create My own hero and heroine on my mind based on the story that i read. i've never use Actors/Actresses faces to visualize :)uniquas at ymail dot com

  17. Anonymous says:

    I usually think about the heros in my mind with a vague reference to the cover model (I prefer headless guys, so I can fill in the face myself!). quilter892ataoldotcom

  18. karenk says:

    enjoyed today's posting…and faces :)karenkkmkuka at yahoo dot com

  19. LindaC says:

    Sounds like a great book. Wow on the productivity. I'm jealous. I cast my hero and heroine just like you do. I really can't write until I have their names and their 'faces'. It gives me something to anchor to.LindaC

  20. Michele Hauf says:

    Minna, i feel your pain when the cover image is nothing like the descriptions inside! Lindac, yes, faces AND names are very important to starting the story. Like my heroine's name, Lark. Still not 100% sure on that, but the more I write, the more she becomes Lark. Sometimes though, I'll change a name while writing because the name demands it.

  21. catslady says:

    I never visualize people I know or actors. I like to take what the author tells me and envision that character. Sometimes I don't even like seeing a face on the cover lol.

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