Tuesday, December 07, 2010

When your inspiration doesn't inspire me...

I’ve noticed a lot of authors post pictures of their “inspiration” for their heroes. I always appreciate a picture of a pretty man, but it’s not something I like to do myself. And sometimes I’m unhappy to see who the hero is supposed to look like and wish the author hadn’t posted the picture.

I mean, my definition of handsome could differ widely from yours. I know I’m always disappointed to find out that the author pictured George Clooney or Brad Pitt as their hero because neither one of them really does it for me. And sometimes, if it’s someone I really don’t like, it can ruin the experience of the book for me.

I’ll admit that I’m not a very visual writer. Even I don’t have a perfect picture of my hero in my mind when I write. I know his basic stats – hair, eyes, build, maybe a dimple or something – but beyond that, he’s not real sharp in my mind. I’d like to say that I do it intentionally, so as not to let my perception of handsome influence yours, and it’s true to a certain extent, but it’s really more for reader in me instead of the reader of my book. I personally like to fill in my own blanks as to what the hero looks like when I read – which is why I’m almost universally disappointed in whoever plays the hero in the movie – so the less the author tells me about specifics, the better off I am. That preference bleeds over into how I write.

That’s why my two favorite covers – of mine – don’t really give a good view of the hero.

For Magnate’s Mistress…Accidentally Pregnant! I think they got Chris darn near perfect: he looks like a sailor boy, with a great body and sun-streaked hair. But his face isn’t really clear. You get to fill in the blanks.

And for the upcoming Girls’ Guide to Flirting With Danger, this image of Devin really fits that basic image I had of him in my mind: the hair and build are right, but beyond that, let your imagination fill in the rest.

So what do you like? Authors who give you really concrete details – or even pictures – to show you what the hero looks like to the author? Or do you like to fill in the details yourself? And how do you feel about the cover models? If he doesn’t match your visual image, does it bother you? Or is any picture of a pretty man worth looking at? ~grin~



Playground Monitor said...

I use a photo when I'm writing so I can refer to it to keep his eyes from changing color from chapter to chapter. LOL! But generally I'll paint my own picture of a hero in my head when I'm reading a book. Sometimes, though, I've seen photos an author posted on her site, read the book and said, "Oh yeah. That's him exactly." Other times not.

The only time it bothers me about a cover model is when he had dark brown hair and the book clearly states his hair is sandy blond. But it doesn't bother me for long (maybe it would if it was MY cover) and I just read merrily long and enjoy that sandy blond hero's story.

Linda Winstead Jones said...

Now and then I'll find a picture that's perfect for a character, but usually there's simply not one. And if I start with a picture that I think is perfect, by the time I finish the first draft it no longer works because the character has become his (or her) own and no longer looks like the picture. As for other authors -- no, I don't want to know. It's as annoying as a badly cast movie. My main complaint with the Twilight movies? That is NOT Edward. :-) Same with books.


Angel said...

Even though I do use a photo when I'm writing, it is never really EXACTLY what my hero looks like. It is just a jumping off point. Like you, the main facial details tend to be fuzzy, but pictures can help me fill in some major points, like a dimple or goatee.

It doesn't really bother me when author's post pictures, because I just go "Huh" and continue to picture whatever the hero looks like to me. And yes, any hottie picture is worth looking at. :)

I'm glad I'm not alone in the Brad Pitt Isn't a God camp... Gerard Butler isn't my favorite either.


Smarty Pants said...

I never really have a solid image either. I usually focus on the hair and the eyes (and try to keep up with what I decide) and maybe give him one distinct feature like facial hair or dimples or something. To be honest, most heroes look the same to me in my mind. Kinda blurry, dark headed, dark eyed (even if I choose blonde and blue eyed in my book) and large in stature because it makes me, a large in stature woman, feel small and feminine.

I try to look for pictures to help me focus because I don't want the same indistinct hero in every book, but I can never find the right one. But like you, its never Brad Pitt or George Clooney. Bleh.

catslady said...

Oh you described perfectly the way I think. I enjoy covers with partial faces or no heads lol. I want to picture him my way after reading what the author has to say. I almost always enjoy the book more but then there is so much more to a book than a movie.

Stephanie Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephanie Jones said...

Opps, second try...

Writing Partner and I discuss this topic a pretty good bit. We are attracted to two very different looks in a guy. Plus being visual she likes to have a picture to work from while I form the picture in my head from the book.

Recently she sent me pages of our very new WIP and after I read them I realized that I had been picturing our hero as dark headed but he was really a sun streaked blond. I asked her when we talked about the pages, "So has he always been a blond?" At least our different attractions keeps our heros diverse.