Monday, November 3, 2014

On the Creation of Characters and Keeping a Little to Ourselves

Today I spent some time getting inspired to work on my new WIP by listening to some tunes and browsing pics of my favorite celebs. There are a couple of people I decided to base some secondary characters on, looks-wise, but I'm not going to tell you who they are or what songs I was listening to! Why? Well, I'll try to explain.

Part of me thinks it's really fun to know what authors were listening to when they wrote a certain scene or to know exactly what famous person they based their main characters on. But the other part of me just doesn't want to know. And I think the part of me that doesn't want to know has the louder voice.

When I read a book, and I fall in love with the story and the characters, I often have my own idea of who/what they might look like. I also may be playing my own soundtrack as I read, making my own special playlist to create a special soundtrack for the tale. I'm making it my own, that way, turning it into something special and personal.

Reading a story is a private endeavor. We all interpret books in our own ways, often shaped by our life experiences. When we dive too much into the original creator's mind, we lose a little of our own magic that we add to our individual interpretation of the tale.

I remember when I found out that one of Anne Rice's inspirations for her character Lestat was actor Rudger Hauer. Now, if I had known that before I read the book, I would've pictured that beloved sexy vampire totally differently! To me, Lestat's not Rudger Hauer. He doesn't look like him or act like him. And I'm glad I didn't have this knowledge to make me think differently because might not have fallen in love with him the way I did by imagining him the way I wanted him to be!

And as for music, I remember listening to some Celtic music while I read one of the first books I ever read, The Hobbit. And even now, when I listen to that CD, it brings it all back. That's my soundtrack. Who knows what in the world Tolkien was listening to, if anything. But if he was, it may have been totally different.

As writers and/or readers, do you prefer to know what the author's inspiration was, or do you prefer to create your own world?




  1. When I first read The Hobbit, when I was about twelve. I was listening to Sibelius 2nd symphony - the first Sibelius I had listened to. As a result, that piece always reminds me of the book and the opening, pastoral movement fitted very well with the depiction of the Shire. Interestingly, Sibelius is musically quite close to some of Howard Shore's music so it has not been supplanted in my mind by the score to AN Unexpected Journey.

  2. Oh my goodness, I LOVE this post! You know, Ill be honest, I think a lot of authors kill some of the fun for us readers by talking too much about their characters, showing too many "pic-spirations", and not letting us create our own images of how we imagine them to be. That's the magic of reading, is how we use our imagination and interpret the author's vision in our mind. Though it's nice to see the author giving us a glimpse, too much of that takes away the magic from us, and that's kind of unfair hehe. I like when authors can show a little, but not a lot. Tease us, but leave it up to us to give most. I'm a firm believer that the work should speak for itself, and it's really the reader that makes the book what it is. I think we live in a day and age though where there's so much transparency. I miss the days where there was hardly any of that, and it was all up to the reader to figure out the author's inspiration(s). Way more fun! I'd love to see that come back into fashion. ;)

    1. Yeah, there's gotta be that fine line in there between mystery and teasing. Teasing can be good, for instance; like knowing you've based a character on David Bowie has grabbed my interest and makes me want to read your book :-D

    2. Exactly! Teasing and mystery whets the appetite. Sometimes I feel like we're given the entire meal and the appetizer and dessert was skipped lol. I do like that so many authors, if not most, based the look of their characters off of celebrities (or models), because it does grab the eye and attention for starters, but from there, I'd rather have the rest be up to the reader ;).

      As soon as The Man on Top of the World finds a home, when/if it does, you'll be some of the first people to know! <3

    3. Sweeet, yes, let me know for sure.