I’m a visual person. Yes, I deal in the currency of words, but I try to paint pictures with them. And when I’m scoping out a story I love to have some visual references to help me.
Some writers use the pinboard method: relevant or inspiring pictures / photos are literally pinned to the board where the author can look at them near at hand. I sometimes look through old photos for inspiration about locations. The gothic house on the header of this blog site is one that I looked at many times over a number of years, eventually incorporating it into my new series of linked stories (The Talisman Series).
The thing that helps me the most though, is the character images. When I start to rough out a character profile, I usually have a fairly fluid idea of how they look…. and then I find the picture. The. Picture. Two of my current recurring characters are ex-marines Jack and Tanner. Now I’ve been getting to know these characters for the past year, but their physical likenesses crystallized perfectly for me when I found THIS picture on the web.
To me, confident and outgoing Jack is the guy at the back. While Tanner, more reserved and quiet – a man of few words – sprawls at the front. Just seeing them ‘in the flesh’ is enough to start a whole fresh set of ideas about how they behave, how they speak, what their stories will develop into. I have no idea who the gorgeous guys are in this photo, but they sure ooze sex appeal. One of my female leads describes them as akin to Greek Gods. And I think this pic works perfectly 🙂
However, it took a while to find this image. Lots of Google searches along the lines of “hot US marine image” and “handsome man in uniform“. Wow… the number of websites devoted to pics of hot guys… well, there’s a few, shall we say! I just hope my husband doesn’t get worried when he sees the recent searches I’ve been running… All in the name of research 🙂