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UF BOOK CHAT > Can you picture your favorite characters?

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message 1: by Marsha (new)

Marsha | 114 comments I can usually picture my favorite character while I'm reading, but occasionally I have a hard time with a particular character. Has that ever happened to you? With which characters? In particular - I can't picture Zayvion Jones from the Allie Beckstrom series (by Devon Monk). Any suggestions?


message 2: by Chrysoula (new)

Chrysoula Tzavelas | 35 comments Really? Weird! I don't really visualize at all when I'm reading.

Have you tried looking for fanart or casting calls for the book? That could give you something to go on.


message 3: by Carolyn F. (new)

Carolyn F. | 182 comments In my mind he looks like Eamonn Walker but with longer hair.


message 4: by Marsha (new)

Marsha | 114 comments Thanks for the suggestions! I'll have to look up Eamonn Walker, I can't think of who he is right off the top of my head. :)


message 5: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Scott (michellescottfiction) | 721 comments Mod
I usually come up with a pretty good visual, but it depends a lot on the author;s skill at depicting them. I like characters who have distinctive looks are aren't Barbie dolls.


message 6: by jD (new)

jD (jd_4everbooked) | 67 comments I agree w. Michelle, it's up to the writer. I personally hate when I can't visualize the character and usually the book won't get a good review for that alone. I just finished the book Blood of Ambrose and the lack of descriptions is why I am not reading further into the series. It's a dealbreaker bottomline.


message 7: by Cindy (new)

Cindy | 8 comments Yup i can most of the time picture the character especially if the author gives a good description.


message 8: by Coral (new)

Coral (coralm) | 26 comments I'm not much of a picturer. I'm not bothered at all when there's no descriptions of characters, in fact I prefer less to more. I wonder if you did a poll of readers how many would fall on one side or the other.


message 9: by Carolyn F. (new)

Carolyn F. | 182 comments Or how we saw the person compared to someone else? That would be interesting.


message 10: by Marsha (new)

Marsha | 114 comments I think that would be an interesting question to put out there. Do you picture the characters you read about? Do you want to? What does a particular character look like (to you) compared to what is imagined by others? I think I like picturing them because it helps me feel more connected to the characters and the story that I'm reading about. Thanks for all of your responses everyone. It has been so interesting to see what others have had to say.


message 11: by Trace (new)

Trace Riles (traceriles) I always have vivid ideas about what I think the characters I'm reading should look like. Actually, I find it kind of funny when I've read a book and then it's turned into a movie/show and the characters don't look the way I'd imagined they would...lol...but I usually get over it quickly =P


message 12: by Erik (new)

Erik Nelson I usually build a picture in my head, but it's rarely exactly how the character is described in the book. That's why I tend toward lean character descriptions. Just some broad brush strokes, then let the reader fill in the rest. It can be jarring when the author goes off on a description that clashes with my own mental image.


message 13: by Mark (new)

Mark (Mark_N) | 14 comments I do visualize characters while i'm reading, if the author is descriptive then that will be the basis of my minds image, but even when the author does not give a very detailed description of a character i'll create my own, it's not something I have to try for it just happens. When reading Kim Harrisons Hollows bookss the image of Rachel Morgan was very close to the illustrations Kim later gave us in her Graphic Novel. Ivy Tamwood was fairly close to her description as was Kisten Felps, but Denon, Glenn and Piscary were quite different to my own images.
I am aa "visual" person in situations other than reading as well.


message 14: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Scott (michellescottfiction) | 721 comments Mod
I also like to envision a character's peculiar quirks. Like I'm reading Moon Called and I keep picturing Mercy with grease under her fingernails because she's a mechanic.


message 15: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (dawnv) | 367 comments Interesting thread, I think I tend to visualize books written in the first person pretty heavily. Otherwise I build my own character, personally I build on stuff like settings and voices more so than what they actually look like.

@Michelle I know exactly what you mean.


message 16: by Carolyn F. (new)

Carolyn F. | 182 comments Michelle wrote: "I also like to envision a character's peculiar quirks. Like I'm reading Moon Called and I keep picturing Mercy with grease under her fingernails because she's a mechanic."

I think she mentions having grease under her nails and hiding her hands in one of the books.


message 17: by Susan (new)

Susan | 145 comments I never really thought about it but I must visualize in some way because sometimes when I see books I have enjoyed made into movies I think thats not how I saw that particular character.


message 18: by Coral (new)

Coral (coralm) | 26 comments Dawn wrote: "Otherwise I build my own character, personally I build on stuff like settings and voices more so than what they actually look like."

This is what I do. I get a sense for the characters but no real physical picture.


message 19: by Chrysoula (new)

Chrysoula Tzavelas | 35 comments Yeah, I'm just not a visual person at all, even with people I know. When I think of real people or characters, I think of traits and how they sound or move, but rarely visual elements.

Once I did an experiment in a shared story I was running where I never gave a love interest any physical details. Then, about halfway through I asked people what he looked like. They not only all had extremely vivid mental images, but they were sure I'd mentioned the details they were most certain of. Since then I haven't worried about providing much more than the basics and instead focused on the details I know well myself. I'm a huge sucker for voices, for example.


message 20: by Marsha (new)

Marsha | 114 comments Chrysoula wrote: "Yeah, I'm just not a visual person at all, even with people I know. When I think of real people or characters, I think of traits and how they sound or move, but rarely visual elements.

Once I did ..."


That is such an interesting exercise and outcome!

@Dawn - I think I may do that to some extent as well. How a person moves or shrugs or tips their head when they're thinking - all those details help make the character seem more authentic.

Great discussion everyone! I'm enjoying hearing what you all have to say about this.


message 21: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Scott (michellescottfiction) | 721 comments Mod
Have you ever seen a person in public who looks like a fictional character you've been reading about? It's cool but creepy at the same time. I once kept staring at this bag boy in the grocery store because he reminded me of a character I'd been reading about (can't remember who now.) Poor kid, lol.


message 22: by Aaron (new)

Aaron | 22 comments I usually come up with some sort of visual for the character and ignore the picture of the character on the front of urban fantasy books.


message 23: by Gin (new)

Gin I don't think I ever have a visual of a character. I see a characters facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice. Maybe style to some degree also. I guess I visualize an overall personality.


message 24: by Regan (new)

Regan (regansummers) | 34 comments I generally have a strong visual of main characters, but they're rarely how the book covers look. An exception to that is Angel from Diana Rowland's My Life as a White Trash Zombie. Maybe because it was such an unexpected and strong image.


message 25: by Marsha (new)

Marsha | 114 comments Aaron wrote: "I usually come up with some sort of visual for the character and ignore the picture of the character on the front of urban fantasy books."

I typically don't like to use the image on the cover as my own mental image either.


message 26: by Dawn (last edited Dec 07, 2011 06:48PM) (new)

Dawn (dawnv) | 367 comments The book covers rarely do anything for me either. Sometimes I flip back and forth like really where did they get this?


message 27: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Scott (michellescottfiction) | 721 comments Mod
The book covers rarely do anything for me either. Sometimes I flip back and forth like really where did they get this?

I'm not sure how other art departments work, but with my publisher, I fill out a lengthy questionnaire concerning the book and what I want on the cover. They do the rest.

Unfortunately, covers are designed to sell books, not necessarily mesh 100% with what's inside. Also, a lot of people (me included) will use stock photos for their indie books. You can try to match up the photos to what's inside, but it doesn't always work.


message 28: by Gin (new)

Gin What's the deal with urban fantasy covers anyway? Does anyone know why they always look like that?


message 29: by Marsha (new)

Marsha | 114 comments I don't know why they always look like that. it seems that to be thin, yet curvy in the hips, with a tank top and thigh-high, leather boots is the standard.


message 30: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Scott (michellescottfiction) | 721 comments Mod
Marsha wrote: "I don't know why they always look like that. it seems that to be thin, yet curvy in the hips, with a tank top and thigh-high, leather boots is the standard."

Well, if you were going to fight a vamp or a were, isn't that what you would want to wear? ;)


message 31: by Marsha (new)

Marsha | 114 comments Michelle wrote: "Marsha wrote: "I don't know why they always look like that. it seems that to be thin, yet curvy in the hips, with a tank top and thigh-high, leather boots is the standard."

Well, if you were goin..."


LOl! Absolutely:)


message 32: by Chrysoula (new)

Chrysoula Tzavelas | 35 comments Urban fantasy covers really all do look kind of similar, I've noticed. It makes me nervous about the cover my publisher and I settled on for my Feb. urban fantasy (Matchbox Girls) because while it's a gorgeous, custom-painted image, it isn't at all in the current style of urban fantasy. The protagonist isn't even on the cover. So as much as I'm tired of current UF covers, I find myself wondering: will people have any idea of what they're looking at? It's troubling.


message 33: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Scott (michellescottfiction) | 721 comments Mod
That is a truly unique cover, Chrysoula, and I think it's beautiful! I was worried about mine, too, since it is chick-lit style, but I've heard from more than one source that sometimes standing out from the crowd can be a very good thing.


message 34: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (dawnv) | 367 comments Back when I used to browse the bookstores my eyes would glaze over the covers with curvy heroine who have long long hair, unless it had catchy title I had little interest. Call me weird but to much of the same and I just cannot seem to focus on one book.

I guess that is a good thing about e-books :-)


message 35: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Scott (michellescottfiction) | 721 comments Mod
Yeah, the picture of Mercy on Moon Called did not mesh with my mental image of her at all!


message 36: by Marsha (new)

Marsha | 114 comments Michelle wrote: "Yeah, the picture of Mercy on Moon Called did not mesh with my mental image of her at all!"

Agree with you about Moon Called for sure:) And I almost didn't read the Magic Bites series by Ilona Andrews because of the cover. I know, that's a stupid reason to not read a book. But, that goes back to the Hooker-like heroine (on the covers, that is).


message 37: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Scott (michellescottfiction) | 721 comments Mod
When I was a kid, my mother was really into Agatha Christie mysteries. I remember looking at the covers of the books and having her tell me, "Those covers are far more intense than the books." Thank goodness for e-readers, lol. Now my book's cover is no one's business.


message 38: by Gin (new)

Gin My husband made sooo much fun of me when I was reading the Mercy books. They sort of epitomize the trampy girl covered in tatoos covers of urban fantasy.


message 39: by Coral (new)

Coral (coralm) | 26 comments Michelle wrote: "Yeah, the picture of Mercy on Moon Called did not mesh with my mental image of her at all!"

That does kind of bother me after a while. There have been I think three different models they've used for Mercy. Though I don't picture the characters, I do know when they strike me wrong. UF does have a lot of cliche covers, but they seem to be branching out more recently.


message 40: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Scott (michellescottfiction) | 721 comments Mod
gin wrote: "My husband made sooo much fun of me when I was reading the Mercy books. They sort of epitomize the trampy girl covered in tatoos covers of urban fantasy."

If Mercy really did look like that, I'm sure she'd have a line of men waiting for her to 'repair' their cars, lol.


message 41: by Gin (new)

Gin Michelle L. wrote: "gin wrote: "My husband made sooo much fun of me when I was reading the Mercy books. They sort of epitomize the trampy girl covered in tatoos covers of urban fantasy."

If Mercy really did look like..."


I'm pretty sure most of them would try to stay and "assist"


message 42: by Ken (new)

Ken Magee I definitely try and visualise the characters, but I'm lazy so I'll take the cover picture (if there is one) or imagine what star I'd like to be in the film. The descriptions given in the book lead me to choose the star. My system gets messy when they actually do make a film and use a different star!


message 43: by Susan (new)

Susan | 145 comments M.r. wrote: "Dawn wrote: "The book covers rarely do anything for me either. Sometimes I flip back and forth like really where did they get this?"

Regularly the book covers are done completely seperatly and a..."


I noticed that about In the Blood by Adrian Phoenix too. I kept thinking thats not Heather.


message 44: by Jenese (new)

Jenese (jsnow09) | 14 comments I'm not very good at visualizing either. I like a few others probably prefer less than more. I like to picture my own perfect man as opposed to the authors descriptions sometimes. I'm not really into the long haired men and I hate that almost all vamp books have men with long hair. I love BDB, but Wrath's hair is just too much for me. Not appealing, so I just picture my own lover man. LOL


message 45: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Scott (michellescottfiction) | 721 comments Mod
Not appealing, so I just picture my own lover man. LOL

Oh, that is so sweet!! :)


message 46: by Marsha (new)

Marsha | 114 comments Jenese wrote: "I'm not very good at visualizing either. I like a few others probably prefer less than more. I like to picture my own perfect man as opposed to the authors descriptions sometimes. I'm not really in..."

Yeah, what's with all the long hair? I can only picture Fabio when they say someone has long hair, and that isn't a good thing - at least for me! LOL!


message 47: by Gin (new)

Gin Marsha wrote: "Jenese wrote: "I'm not very good at visualizing either. I like a few others probably prefer less than more. I like to picture my own perfect man as opposed to the authors descriptions sometimes. I'..."

I don't understand the long hair either. I always have to ignore that description.


message 48: by Chrysoula (last edited Jan 01, 2012 10:26PM) (new)

Chrysoula Tzavelas | 35 comments I've always felt like long hair (or at least hair longer than about an inch, inch-and-a-half) adds more personality, because there's a limit to the number of ways short hair can be styled. That said, I have to say even thinking that I tend not to imagine hair longer than 3-4 inches (measuring from the scalp) except in special cases.


message 49: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Scott (michellescottfiction) | 721 comments Mod
Chrysoula wrote: "I've always felt like long hair (or at least hair longer than about an inch, inch-and-a-half) adds more personality, because there's a limit to the number of ways short hair can be styled. That sai..."

I like tousled hair. If a guy's hair is too neat, I want to mess it up, lol.


message 50: by Anne (new)

Anne Mikusinsi (abghostwriter) It depends on the story and the time period as to the hair question, but as to characters, I can almost always get a clear picture of them in my head. Maybe it's because I write, too...:)


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