First in a week-long series exploring novels to film.
A few years ago, when I started writing longer stories and began developing the Morristown mystery series, I noticed my tendency to naturally break chapters into tight scenes that seemed more like scripting theater scenes than book chapters. I also found myself looking for photos of people who might play the roles of my characters, and as I built character files, I added images to give me strong visual descriptions for my writing. That seemed like casting actors for a play or movie.
When my male protagonist took over my writing voice, I had quite a few challenges identifying with his character, and visuals became even more important to my writing. I spent hours looking for my main character, J. Lindsey Calhoun, and thought I’d found him in this man:
But two aspects always bothered me about this image. He needed to have blue eyes – that changed from light blue to stormy dark depending on emotion - and I didn’t get that from this model.
He also needed a multi-faceted face, with lots of changing emotions. One not too pretty, because my book hero starts out being fairly cold, even unattractive as a person, and someone intimidating enough to inspire a small army of protectors around the heroine and his future love interest.
Quite by accident, I found the perfect blue eyes on a friend’s Facebook page. These eyes belong to Jeff Bosley.
So I threw him into my character gene pool and connected with him on his social networks. Even better, I discovered he was an actor in real life, one who had pulled the safety net from under himself, moving to Los Angeles to pursue a full-time film career, and was promoting heavily online. His updates on Facebook and Twitter daily gave me more images to work with.
He could be a lawyer easily enough.
He scruffs up pretty well too.
He has a humorous, even goofy side.
More important than anything, he can light up a room when he smiles, because that side of him is clearly described in my novel. It’s the effect the heroine has on him, and that softening is pivotal to his character development and to their relationship.
Yep. Actor Jeff Bosley could be the perfect J. Lindsey Calhoun when we break into film.
Well, almost perfect. First I have to buy lots of stock in Dermablend to cover all that ink, and, gee, maybe a manicure? ;)
Yes, I’m writing this book beginning with the idea that we’ll end up onscreen. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve come at a challenge back-asswards. Probably crazy, but who cares if it helps me get the book written?
To that end, we have a #Christmas2014Challenge. By then I’ll have finished my first book draft, with the help of National Novel Writing Month in November. Mr. Bosley plans to score a leading role in a major film. (He works so hard every day, I have no doubts that this will happen!)
Do us a favor and help us achieve our goals, friends. Connect with us online and be our cheerleaders.
You can learn more about Jeff Bosley at his professional website (which includes videos), his official Facebook page, and on Twitter. Please promote him whenever you can. How cool would it be to have a famous actor playing the lead in my story in a few years? Very cool!
You can connect with me here, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest where I’ll update my weekly writing progress. Do egg me on – embarrass me into success if you must! I need your help, too, to build MY character as well as my book’s! Because, dang, it’s hard to keep at this some days. I need all the inspiration I can get.
Tell me readers, what helps you build your character profiles? Any unusual and inspiring ideas? What’s in your can of stick-to-anything tricks? I’m always interested in your behind-the-scenes motivations. Please leave us a comment!
Dani Greer is founding member of The Blood-Red Pencil, a member of Colorado Writers and Editors on Facebook, and an acquisitions editor for Little Pickle Press. She’s been involved with publishing off and on for 40 years. In her spare time, she swings a mean scythe on the high plains where she lives on a couple of acres with her artist husband, Michael, and too many critters to name.