Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Face Off

I know my main character better than I know anyone else. Better than I know myself. I shouldn't really sound so self satisfied about that, I mean he is a figment of my imagination, of course i should know everything about him; I made him!

David is 6 foot tall, with dark brown hair, slim build. He has a small scar above his lip (very Harry Potter!) from a nasty fall on the football field 15 years ago in school - he plays in midfield and captains his local club. He loves crisps, pasta and pizza and hates eggs. He's a primary school teacher, in a long term relationship, has a bit of ego, enjoys pints with the lads and sunny days. And he's quite good looking.

Now listen closely, here's the problem: I don't atually know what David looks like. For three years, David's face has been a blur. A handsome blur.

It has taken me three long years to visualise his face because i could never imagine a face good enough for him! I've read several books about how to write a novel (another way of procrastinating and putting off the acual writing!) and one book advises that prospective writers should cut out clippings of a particular model/actor/singer and post them all over their desk/ writing space so that they continually visualise their character as that person. Trust me this is much easier said than done. I've watched films, looked at ads, pored over magazines and I never, ever saw my David.

I've read about directors who have sat at casting calls for their films with dozens, if not hundreds, of actors reciting lines in front of them. Then all of a sudden, a young man will walk into the room and the director will freeze. He might be a new actor, maybe he's just a random guy providing moral support to his struggling actor friend.  Or maybe he's the janitor. But who cares, becuase the director spots him and straight away, it's like love at first sight: There's my main character.

Call me idealistic but I've waited for this moment for years with the hope that I would spot my David in a film, magazine, maybe even in the local supermarket! But no luck. I saw some faces that maybe, could be David but they were never good enough and they left my brain as quick as they entered. Like the eternal single gal looking for true love, I wasn't going to settle, I had to find Mr Right (face).

Then late last year, it happened. I found him; I found my David. It was love at first sight and I've never looked back.

I laid my eyes upon him in the most romantic of settings: a Kings of Leon video. Pyro is one of my favourite songs to write to, there's something inspirational/haunting about it...

Anyway, my David is basically the "good guy" in the video who walks into the bar, orders a drink and gets the c**p kicked out of him. Don't worry, I won't subject him to that kind of assault in my book. Well, we'll see...

Isn't he perfect? Minus the bruising and probable internal bleeding.

So I have no idea who this mystery man is (if anyone knows, please enlighten me as i would like to send him a thank you card!) but it doesn't matter because having an actual face for my David makes it so much more enjoyable to write. And if I find it enjoyable to write, I hope that'll make it more enjoyable to read for you guys!

Now excuse me while I go plaster photos of this lovely guy all over my laptop and desk.  Let's hope the boyfriend doesn't get jealous! ;)


  1. Sinead, you've put flesh and a handsome face on the skeleton. You've given him likes and dislikes. I'm liking David already! How about putting a few words in his mouth??

    1. Thanks Maryo! I'm glad to see he's being liked already! I'm working on giving him a dialogue, should feature in the blog soon, so keep coming back to check! thanks again for lovely comment :)

  2. Fascinating post, Sinead,
    I don't have clear pictures in my head of any of my characters either - just impressions - and that's why I try to avoid using photos on my covers. I think all readers secretly like to put their own take on heroes and heroines as they read and no two people will visualise exactly the same thing. I worry that if I limit their creative ability by being too prescriptive, I may spoil their interaction with the story.

    Well that's my excuse - lol! It may just be that it's too much like hard work trying to find the exact face to match my characters. I always know who they are not, but can't visualise precisely who they are.

    Now that you've found your David, it sounds like a marriage made in muse heaven! I hope you'll be very happy together ;)

  3. Thanks for the comment, it made my day to hear that you enjoyed the post :)

    You're so right about the characters faces - there's nothing worse than seeing a book made into a film with the main character looking nothing like you imagined! I don't mind how other people imagine my David, as long as I can picture him this way and he helps me to write that's all that matters to me!

    I just hope the honeymoon period doesn't wear off between us!! ;)