Sunday, October 17, 2010

Visuals When Writing a Series

One thing that helps me develop my characters is visuals. I love old photographs in black and white or sepia. They take us back into the past, and away from the bright lights that distract us in our times.

Visuals enable a writer and her readers to 'meet face-to-face' with characters. I had to search Google for these, but they are the closest images to how I see my heroines in the Daughters of the Potomac Series. And this is how I want my readers to see them. Not a drawing on paper, or a painting, but images from the past that portray such a character.

The first photo is an exact representation of Eliza Bloome in Before the Scarlet Dawn. Everything from her expression to her stance speaks of her. Her gaze is somewhat defiant, as if she could take on the world. It expresses bravery and fortitude.

This image is how I see Darcy Morgan, Eliza's daughter, in the novel Beside Two Rivers. Her face shines with loving kindness. Gentleness and femininity glow in her eyes. Can you see what kind of young woman she is? Passionate and poetic?

And finally, her is Sarah, my heroine in Beyond the Valley. She has a faraway gaze that matches the title. She is beautiful, but her expression is one of loneliness.

So, while writing your novel, search for an image of your character and draw from it their inner and outer qualities.

In the comments, please share if you have done this, and if you have your image on your blog or website, share the link with us.


Jan Cline said...

Yes, I like to visualize my characters, but I dont like to use celebrity faces has my inspirations like some do. I ran accross a picture on the internet that is very close to what I had pictured in my mind. I should print it out and hang it above my desk to use for book 2.

Bonnie Toews said...

I love those photos you've found to represent your heroines, Rita. I hadn't thought about because I had such a clear vision in my mind of what my heroines look like. When you do it this way it is very difficult to find a likeness to represent the characters on the book cover, so on my new website where I've posted chapter previews I've found faces that more closely fit what I see in my mind's eye. Thanks for showing me how to reverse the process.

Rita Gerlach said...

Thanks, Jan & Bonnie. I failed to mention that I am also using them to give my readers a visual. They are a means of promotion for the series. I'm working on creating a buzz, even though book 1 will not be out until 2012.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Rita -

I haven't done this, but maybe I should. One of my characters from Book 3 looks like a friend with a few minor changes.

Susan :)

Carla Gade said...

Yes, I love to find visuals. Like you I like to find historical figures, photographs or paintings, rather than living subjects. It makes the character seem so real. I often keep a montage of the characters on my desktop for inspiration.