Thursday, September 25, 2008

In the Cave

I'm currently my writing cave. I have some pretty extensive revisions and only a few weeks to do them (because the family and I are going to the mountains for fall break and I'd really like to not have to worry about this while I'm gone) so this post is going to be short and sweet.
I'm working on Afterburn which will be a May 2009 release. It's the story of an accidental marriage between an Air Force Thunderbirds pilot and the Public Affairs Officer for the Squadron...three days before he leaves for war.

I thought I'd share a couple pictures of my vision of Chase and Rina.

Can't you just picture him peeling out of a flight suit? :-)

Hopefully, life will return to what passes for my crazy normal soon. In the meantime, I have a couple questions I'd really love to get your opinion on. For the writers out there, do you use pictures of your characters to help you visualize them? For the readers, does it ever bother you if the cover models don't match your vision of the characters once you start reading? Or do you even pay attention to the cover once you've opened the book?

P.S. We've been nominated for a Love Award on We need your votes! :-) Please go to

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Rhonda Nelson said...

I almost always use pictures, particularly in the beginning of a story.

Problem Child said...

I must head into my cave as well...

But I don't use pictures. I really only have a vague idea what my people look like beyond the basic info.

Linda Winstead Jones said...

Now and then I'll look at pictures early on for inspiration, but once I get started writing the physical aspects always change on me. Which is why the cover of a book can never be perfect, because these people only exist in my head. :-)

I once tried to do a collage, after a workshop where it was discussed, and it was an exercise in frustration because there was no way I could find the exact right pictures. And if they're not exactly right, then why bother?

I know the cave well. Fortunately I'm not in mine at the moment.


Smarty Pants said...

I don't use pictures. Sometimes I try to find a point of reference photo toward the end of the book, but not the other way around. Usually because I can never find the right picture. Its never exactly the way I want them to look.

Same with covers. I really wish they would make the art people read. The hero's hair is always wrong. I just read a story where the hero had hair long enough to have in a ponytail. On the cover - short, short, short. Guy looked like a Marine. That irritates me.

(Needs to buy a GPS so she can FIND her cave...)

Angel said...

I definitely use pictures and the collage that frustrates LJ so much. :) But I often find pics of models, becuase actors and actresses are a little too real for me, if that makes any sense. Their personalities are already defined for me, by their characters or the tabloids. So unless that actually fits my character, I search out more of an unknown person, so I can create their personality on my own.

Speaking of which, who is that hunk? :)


Instigator said...

He's a model - Chad Pinther. I can't even remember where I found his picture but I absolutely love the one in the white shirt.

But I know what you mean about the pictures being not quite right. His hair is a bit too long since Chase is active Air Force. And her hair is a touch too blonde. Rina's is a bit more honey brown-blonde. They weren't exactly right but there was something about the way they looked at the camera that captured my attention.

I'll be honest and say I didn't have her picture until after I'd already finished the book. It took me a long time to find one that remotely fit Rina.


Lynn Raye Harris said...

I sometimes use pictures, but not always. I pull them into a storyboard program I have and refer to them from time to time. But just for inspiration. I never think I need to describe the characters exactly as the pictures.

And yes, I can envision that guy in a flight suit -- yummy!!!

Oh, where would you say is a good place to look for photos?

Liza said...

I like for the cover model to at least look a bit like the description of the character.

Anonymous said...

WOW!!!!!!!!!!! He's hot, drooling at the keyboard. She is too, great pictures. As a reader I do expect the cover to come close to what is inside or vice versa. Right now I am reading a book where the heroine has read hair and green eyes. On the cover, the person has blond hair, huh??? So, yes as a reader, I do pay attention to these details.

Crystal Lee said...

I don't use pictures as a general rule. I collect dolls, and sometimes I find inspiration for my female characters there. Sometimes I will visualize a celebrity face and modify that. Mostly, though, their faces are in my head.

(Cave located, longs to be in said cave...can't get enough time...she groans from behind the desk of her 9 to 5 job...)

Sherry W. said...

Speaking from un-experience, I needed a picture to focus on for my first WIP. But in my mind I had a mental picture and finding someone that fit wasn't easy. So we'll have to wait and see which way works for me.

Covers? Yes they catch my eye but after I start reading I forget about it.

I wish I had a cave! And a club to knock out any intruders!

I'm with you Crystal on the groaning from behind the day job desk. :(

Playground Monitor said...

For the short stories, I just have a vague idea in my mind since I don't have a lot of words to play around with for descriptions. But for the book I started way too many years ago, I have photos.

I should be in a cave. Instead I've been watching movies while the DH has been on a business trip. Patrick Dempsey in "Made of Honor" anyone?


Instigator said...

Lynn, a lot of times I just google male models. I also keep a file on my comptuer of hero and heroine photos and put anyone in there I think looks interesting as I run across them. I've discovered (through much yelling and screaming at the computer) that it's important to write down the person's name when I do that, however. Otherwise you have a photo of someone and you can't find any more (or where the original came from).

PM also has a nice list of sites (which I can't remember off the top of my head). I think Elite and Ford are among them though.

Crystal, I'm groaning at the day job too but in an hour or so I'm going to tell them I've got to focus on something else :-)


Playground Monitor said...

Ah yes... my legendary folder of hunk sites. Be nice and maybe I'll share. Mwahahahahahaha.

I think your heroine came from kimdawsonagency dot com. Other good sites are maxtalent dot com and

And then there's the sites with the half-nekkid guys. ;-)


Crystal Lee said...

Hmm, Instigator. Wonder how that would go over here? Actually, I sneak a little writing time here and there just to get away from the spreadsheets full of numbers. Not exactly the sanctuary of the cave though...

Kathy said...

I get some of my characters from actors and movies. Seeing them in action is what appeals to me. The ideas flow from there, body movement, facial expressions and so forth.

I'll tear out photos in magazines and place them in a file. That way I can make the collage or post them on a bulletin board, if I need to. Or I'll watch a movie with someone I'm interested in just to envision the possibilities. :)

Thanks for the websites, PM!!

Juliet Burns said...

Hi Kira!
I LOVE your fighter pilot guy. Yummy! I definitely have to have pics. I even make a collage with pics of my setting, cars the characters drive, houses, offices, ships, planes, whatever I can find that's in my book to take me totally into thier world. I usually use actors, but now you have me thinking about hunky models...

Angel said...

So there are other authors out there as detailed as I am. Yay, I'm not completely obsessive!!!! :) Thanks, Juliet!


Jolie said...

When I write (can't seem to find my cave lately either), I use pics for inspiration. I don't usually find pics 'perfect' for my characters either and I've even been known to change up the image in my mind to better fit a pic I've found. My WIP (which I haven't touched in weeks..gah) originally had the hero with crazy, spikey hair, but I found a pic of a guy with fabulous, longish hair, so I changed it. All that mattered was that he spent too much time primping than the heroine was used to with the men in her life.

Whew...I'm long-winded today. Eek...

Margay said...

This guy is absolutely gorgeous and he looks so familiar. What's his name?