Cast Your Book

Writing can often become labor-intensive. We become so focused on rewrites and editing and tightening up the grammar and narrative and plotting and on and on and on... Sometimes it's fun, for a break, to remind yourself why you're writing this thing - at it's most basic, because it's fun to tell stories.

One of the fun things I've done in the past to break monotony is cast my WIP as if it was a movie. I imagine which famous person would play each character and look up pictures of them in poses or settings that might have occurred in my story. This is fun, plus I find it helpful when writing the story. It's especially helpful when working on series, to help recapture the tone and feeling of each character that you may have been removed from for a time while, say, working on other projects.

In the end, we don't know these people as people, the ones I pick from pictures I find on the Internet. We're really only casting them as characters we remember them playing in past roles. You may think this makes your own character less than unique, basing them on other characters from film or television, and you would be right if you tried to write them exactly as they were in that other work. For me, though, I only use it as a sort of template, if I do it at all. I don't try to write them exactly as they might have been in someone else's story, but use them only as a prototype for the character I have created, only as a reminder, not as a carbon copy.

Kaley CuocoZoe SaldanaFor example, in my current WIP, the next book in my most popular series beginning with the book Rogue Agenda, I imagined casting one of two actresses as the main character, Lainie Parker: either Kaley Cuoco or Zoe Saldana. Wait a minute, you say, that can't work. Lainie is a white brunette. One of these actresses is blond and the other is African American. Well, while I originally wrote Lainie as a Caucasian brunette, in the end, there's nothing about that character that requires her to be either. If they were truly being cast for a movie, either of these actresses has played parts in the past that remind me of Lainie in different ways. I would be just as pleased if either one was cast.

What actors/actresses would you cast as the primary characters in your current WIP? Share with a comment below.

Kevin Paul Tracy
Kevin Paul Tracy, writer, philosopher, and all 'round raconteur, has traversed half the globe and both sides of the equator. He has SCUBA dived under ice and snow, and in flooded craters hidden deep underground, and he has done just about every odd occupation you can think of, from cave spelunking guide to wildlife photographer to interstate courier. His fiction tends to deal with themes of bravery and fortitude in the face of extreme adversity, most often featuring very ordinary men and women forced into extraordinary circumstances, called upon to plumb the hidden strengths and resourcefulness they never knew they had. Kevin currently lives in Colorado with two very charismatic St. Bernards.

Don't miss Kevin's latest twisted thriller Presence of Malice, as well as his other books, the startling and engrossing Kathryn Desmarais Gothic Mysteries Bloodflow and Bloodtrail and the wonderfully entertaining espionage thriller Rogue Agenda. More about Kevin on his website and on Amazon.

4 thoughts on “Cast Your Book

  1. I cast all my characters from the start, and often print out a photo to keep me grounded. And, like you, I don’t think of a specific role they played in the past, more how I interpret their “character” or personality. I have Bette Midler in mind for a slightly aging red light district character, and Tom Select (a younger one) as a leading man because of that self-deprecating grin and his height (and mustache), as well as others. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who thinks this way, and agree it makes it more fun to envision my characters as something (almost) real.

  2. I’d choose Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey and Alice in Netflix’s Godless), if she can be more like Alice in Godless and ditch her English accent. It’s hard when you find an actor or actress who looks the part but can’t talk the part.

  3. How fun, Kevin! I find models in ads — one became Kadriya in Emerald Silk. Montages were popular when I wrote my women’s fiction novels, so every character was found in various publications. I especially like men’s fragrance photos for my male protagonists. Keira Knightley is a favorite for both beauty and playfulness — she’s definitely my Joya from Crimson Secret. In my current WIP, I selected Alain Delon as my male protag. (He was a big sex symbol in the 1960s.) That took much research in browsing through decades of handsome French actors, just one of the many examples of the exhaustive research I conduct for my historicals. 😉

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