Thursday, March 10, 2016

Visualizing a Character

Posted by: Caitlin Sinead

I'm still working on my very first fantasy novel and one seemingly superficial problem has kept bugging me. The novel has multiple characters and POVs and there are two male love interests. One of them is crystal clear in my head, as are the two female protagonists. But that other love interest kept shifting. I knew he would have darker features, dark eyes, hair and skin, but beyond that he just wouldn't come into focus.

It isn't that I didn't know what he was about as a character. I've done multiple free writes from his POV and sketched out his challenges and his goals, his inner ghosts and his past.

But when I tried to visualize scenes with him, he'd morph as the scene took place, which, needless to say was pretty distracting. I'd picture him in multiple different ways but none of them seemed "right."

I continued trying to write through the problem but I knew at some point I'd really need to get a better visual before I could get really swept away in the scenes and interactions.

This may seem off topic, but bear with me. I just started my third trimester and am expecting a baby in May! Pregnancy has taken a bigger hit on my writing time than I thought it would. But I'm trying to take a positive angle to one bad part of pregnancy: insomnia. Cramping legs, needing to pee all the time, and never being able to get in a comfortable position even with copious pillows all take their toll. That said, it gives you plenty of time to mull your novel over!

And, the other night, I finally "got" him! I could finally see him clearly in my head!

It seems so superficial, but just seeing him now has made me much more excited about tackling scenes and revisions.

Has anything like that happened to you? At what point in your process do you usually know what a character looks like? How important is this to your process?

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