Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I Heart YA #11: You Oughta Be In Pictures

So it's, uh, been a while.  Academic life is hard. *pouts*

Suze Reese on her I <3 YA blog tour has offered up the topic of Books being made into Movies.  I thought I'd put a little spin on it and toss it back and ask, Writers, what about your book being made into a movie?

To some extent there's always going to be a bit of a Hell Yeah! So that isn't interesting.  Instead - What do you think about fantasy casting?

For me, I always tried to keep myself pure of basing characters off of hearthrob actors.  It would pervert and cheapen the character! I thought.  (As a fanfiction writer, this is a little hypocritical.  Don't call me on it.)  So I flailed about, working on my own sketches of the character, trying to get something that felt right.

Then I started working on my Sci Fi novel (a W still very much IP) and I sketched out a few characters, who they were, how to set up the basic situation.

A quote:
"ok 4 philosophers/politicians2m/2fone is a ship's captain – female
one a plantation owner – male
he’s a philosopher.  One of his slaves is his lover.  He rationalizes slavery as a way to keep us all safe from lazy idle people.  He wants to free her and marry her, but he’s already married. 
one is a transplanted aristocrat – female 
and one is a former trader/explorer who is now a wealthy merchant – male"

(Yes, I am older than 12, even if my note taking skills do not support this claim.)

I started fleshing out these very basic descriptions, and suddenly, I had an image.
Transplanted Aristocrat:
Christa Miller

And then they kept coming.
Ship's Captain:
Lucy Lawless... as a blonde

And then my plantation owner:
Christina Cox in Blood Ties
Everything was right about that picture, the colors, the glasses.  Everything, except that suddenly my nice even gender split was thrown off, because my plantation owner was a woman, had to be a woman.  And the story just spun out of my fingers.

(Eventually I came up with this pic for my ex-trader/adventurer:)

Essentially, what I got out of these pictures wasn't an actor and their particular physical make up or their usual expressions, or anything like that.  I got an image.  I got a sense of color and of attitude.  I found a concrete way into these characters that was repeatable.  Sometimes people can do it with a song that speaks to them in a particular way.  For this story it was images.

So how about you?  Do you use fantasy casting as a way to help along your creative process or does it hurt it?  Do you have any other methods?  Making mixes? Sketching pictures?  Let me know!


  1. Very thought-provoking. And a nice twist. (I'm a fan of your adventurer. I wouldn't marry him, but I'd be happy to read about him!) To answer your question, I can't say I've used fantasy casting, unless images in my brain count. But that is on my to-do list for a book trailer (which is kind of a mini-movie, right?) Great post!

  2. Lucy Lawless looks really good as a blonde! Also, the adventurer really fits!

    As for me, I have NO idea who would play my characters if my book was made into a movie. Not yet, at least. I can and do illustrate them, though. I love character design. I had to draw my main villain many, many times before he had the look I wanted. My MC Lividia has become prettier as I drew her, but she's still got her trademark 'sad' eyebrows, sunken eyes, long face and puffy lips. And her Boogeyman - he's always been what I wanted from the start. I drew the first sketch of him in 2003.