Are you having trouble with your characters? In At the Hour of the Morning Drink I have a character named Natalie who is not yet as substantial as she might be. She’s not a main character but she’s integral to the plot so she ought to be more rounded. I have a good idea of her personality but I haven’t really written about her physical presence, or brought her face to life when she’s talking.
A good way to bring characters to life is obviously to base them on people you know – but that can jeopardise friendships, not to mention get you in to trouble. An alternative is to work from an image. If you are writing at home in the evenings jump on to Google where there are millions of subjects just waiting to be the muse. Find an image – of someone well known or not – and create an image file of your characters. This is a great way to keep on top of what eye colour and hair colour your characters have, plus it can also be really helpful when selling your book as you can talk about the people you see playing your main characters.
Looking at a photograph of someone is a fantastic writing prompt; notice the angle of the head in different moods, note what happens to their face when they smile, when they look sombre, when they smoulder, when they smoke, laugh.
How do their features combine to make a whole?
Go another step further – find someone in movies or tv who fits your character and watch them – study their walk, the way they move their hands, their head.
Of course, if you can get out and write during the day you can spy on people in cafes too. Write down their conversations, describe their clothes, how they interact; who’s in charge and how do you know? Who’s shy or frustrated or depressed?
Pinterest and YouTube are two great mediums for building your profile, creating interest in your work, and grabbing inspiration.
Pin images that evoke the atmosphere of your writing – pin images of buildings, landscapes and fashions. When you’re depleted visit your boards, add to them, and use them as prompts for your work.
You can also bring your characters to life by making playlists for them in YouTube. In choosing music that evokes their personalities you’ll find new aspects of them to write about. Think about the rhythms and melodies they like, the sorts of music that represents their lifestyle and persona as well as their hopes and fears. Create a soundtrack for your book – and use it later as an add-on to your product.
Now, go be inspired!