Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Casting Call

As authors, we go through a set process when creating our storylines.  For me, it starts with the germ of an idea, and then I begin my "Casting Call".  Sometimes, I have an inkling of what my characters look like from the onset.  They may be based on an actor or actress I'm familiar with.  Other times, I scan the internet until I "discover" the person I'm looking for.  I can't write much beyond a few paragraphs until I've cast my main characters.  I guess you can say they become my inspiration.
In essence, authors are directors.  I'm geared towards theatre and cinema so I tend to treat each book as a film from start to finish.  Storyboards are my detailed outlines.  My chapters are my scripts, complete with those little brass fasteners (hey don't knock it...they work great for a fast binding solution).  Every dialogue is acted out before the words ever hit the page.  Yes, there are even rehearsals, of sorts, to ensure a scene works. And my neighbors have been forewarned...I'm not crazy, please don't call the men in white coats to come and take me's an author thing.

I create a headshot sheet, similar to the one above, with my hero and heroine for each book.  My desk is an old farm table and it's covered with headshots from the series I'm currently writing. Characters from one book inevitably end up in another, so I keep them handy.  Each one is in a clear plastic sleeve so I can tuck character bios or notes safely inside.  If you walked into my house right now, you would think I was casting  a movie.  And in a way, I am.  As authors, our characters need to come to life and leap off the pages.  If they don't, we haven't done our jobs.

Now I'm curious...

Fellow authors: What process do you go through for creating your characters?
Fellow readers: Do you ever envision the characters playing out the scenes before you?

I look forward to hearing from you!

Amanda Renée

Double Trouble, my Harlequin American Romance debut will be released March 2013.


Bridgett39 said...

Yes, I completely imagine the scenes of a book being played out like a movie in my mind. I guess as a reader I come up with my own cast that I imagine. That is why it is so important for the author to describe the character the way they want you to see them. I love getting lost in a good book.

Amanda Renée said...

Thanks for the comment Bridgett!

Tammy Yenalavitch said...

I am a reader and I do envision movie scenes when I read. Even when the book has a movie, my scenes are different.

Amanda Renée said...

Tammy - I'm usually disappointed when a book is made into a movie, although it's very lucrative to the author. It's never how I envisioned the book.

Reading is a beautiful thing. The author creates their own little world and then the reader creates their own version of it. A collaboration of the minds in a way.

I know it's impossible to speak with every one of my readers, but I love hearing how they envision a scene I wrote.

linda s said...

I don't so much think visually so I hear it more as a radio play than a movie. Dialogue and tone make the story come alive for me.