Guest Post – Nora Weston – Author Guardian 2632

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Zane Grayson is tall, dark, and handsome…or maybe tall and handsome with a Scotch-Irish linage since I can’t quite picture my male protagonist. The female lead, Julia Emerson, has eyes so green they look like emeralds, but that’s all I have for her. Long tresses of honey-colored hair fit her personality, although reddish-blonde locks might be better. Alas, assigning a character’s facade can drive authors to pull out their own hair, and if this aspect of character building is ignored, it leads to flat characters without any descriptive details. Now, mind you…I don’t need to know how many hairs are on a character’s head, but give me something!

A good imagination helps, and asking fellow writers for suggestions is a wise way to go as well, but there are other alternatives to get a grip on what characters may look like. Once an author has decided the outer shell for a character, other qualities about that person are envisioned without much effort.

In Guardian 2632, Zane Grayson is a top-notch soldier, but he’s also a highly skilled military doctor, and I knew I wanted him to have dark eyes that would captivate Julia Emerson, yet his rock hard, muscular body needed a face. The fastest way for me to give Zane a face was to visit Dreamstime, iStockphoto, and shutterstock, which have thousands of photos to click on. Simply search for what you desire in a character…like dark eyes, black hair, and long bangs, and then let the magic begin.

I went through hundreds of faces, but recognizing my hero and having various photos of that person available for reference was an unbelievable feeling. Once I found Zane, I imagined him as a guy needing to live life on the edge…dying for a rush whenever possible, and I saw him as a courageous man who’d do anything to save others, especially Julia Emerson.

If using an online photo database doesn’t work for you, try magazines, and use Google to bring up photos of people who may fit the description of your character. There’s just something about the way a person smiles, or the sparkle in their eyes may say it all, and even the lines on their face tells a tale.

I studied the photos until I found that one face above all others who’d best represent Zane Grayson…and that person inspired at least a thousand words about the personality and looks of the protagonist in Guardian 2632.

How do your characters take shape? Do they resemble people you know, completely imagined, or are your characters derived from dreams?

Thanks for visiting!

Ms. Weston is currently on a virtual blog tour for BK Walker Books.

See our review of Ms. Weston’s book here

One Response to “Guest Post – Nora Weston – Author Guardian 2632”

  1. Rhodes Review - Review Section Says:

    […] Ms. Weston’s Guest Post on character development here with good advice for potential writers. 0 people like this post. Like  VN:F […]