Monday, July 18, 2011

Why I Don't "Cast" My Characters As I Write?

I read the blog post of a friend, a dear fellow author, wherein she admitted that she envisioned the Hollywood heavyweights who would play her characters once her book made it to the big screen.  Having read most of her manuscript, I checked out her "cast" and agreed with most of her choices.  I got to thinking about the idea of doing the same thing.  We write differently. I write YA.  Her, not so much, so we wouldn't have to worry about borrowing leads and what not.  Funny thing was, I couldn't do it.

I realized, reading through a couple of my manuscripts, I am not so heavy on the descriptions.  Not like, say, a sweeping historical fiction where the costume is pretty much another character on their own, my descriptions tend to be rather stock.  I'm light on them because I've decided that I want the reader to be able to create their own mental picture when they are involved in the story.  Writing YA is so much about the truth and raw realness about the emotion and the journey, that clothing and hair color, for me, is just so much window dressing.

I discovered something else too, while I was thinking about this concept.  If I did try and cast my male lead at least, they would all turn out to be a cross between my first love from high school and Jordan Catalano.  If you are anywhere near my age and don't have a Y chromosome, you know who Jordan Catalano is.  He was Angela Chase's love interest on My So Called Life and I was desperately in love with him and the unfolding of their love affair for the entire 19 episodes.  He was beautiful, and rebellious and proud and dangerous and accidentally profound and my 22 year old heart beat in unison with his.  Parts of all my characters now have a little Jordan Catalano in them, a little of his quiet dignity and his smoldering sexuality.  And those eyes, those swallow-you-whole eyes.  Oh.  Sorry.  I'm back.

Anyway, I think that's why I can't cast my characters.  Because for me, they would always be Jordan Catalano from 17 years ago.  And maybe my readers today want a sparkly vampire with deathly white skin.  Or a boyish charmer whose brother is dead but he goes sailing with him anyway.  Or a hot werewolfy guy who just can't keep a shirt on (and who'd want him to?)  For my reader, the fantasy is theirs.  As an author, it's my job to take them there.  The rest is up to them.  :-)


  1. I have not read your books yet but I think I will have to get one and give it a read:) I like the way you describe your writing :)

  2. Thanks Cindy. Thats the single most coolest compliment I have ever received. It's like I'm a chef and you want to come to my restaurant because of the way I described my food. Thanks for making my day!