A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!

NOTE: the blog is currently dormant but please enjoy the posts we're keeping online.

Julie Moffet . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A Miller . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson . Vanessa Keir . Tonya Kappes . Julie Rowe . Joni M Fisher . Leslie Langtry

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Do You See What I See?

My guess is every reader envisions the hero and heroine differently than the author did. I often start a new story with a vague image in mind, or maybe I find a picture that is like my mental picture, but somewhere along the way, that character changes, taking on a life of his or her own, that is just a little bit different from my first impression. Their personality becomes more distinct as their image becomes less so!

The reader can create their own images!

And cover art? Nope, it never matches the one I begin building from the moment that character walks on the page—even my own covers! Though I did like that the images Carina Press used were more silhouette than actual discernible people. 

Add your own head!
Speaking of cover art, I love the headless bodies myself—that way I don’t have these images that never match my vision cluttering up my mind every time I pick up that book (one added benefit of an e-book—I only see that cover image once!) 

Sometimes I create a mental image before the author describes the character and rarely will I change that mental picture to match the authors! Call me obstinate, but once I have that mental picture I just can’t erase it. Heck, I’ve totally ignored some characteristics if I don’t find them personally appealing (hair color, facial hair, weight and height have all been modified in the world I create out of the authors original story).

As a writer, I don’t mind readers creating a different look than I had for my characters—if it makes the story more real for them, go for it! Every reader brings their own biases, experiences, and belief systems that color every book they read. Hopefully they enjoy my stories no matter who they place in the starring role.
This may, or may not be my hero for book four...

So, have you found yourself creating different characters in the books you read, or is it just me?

About Sharon:

Sharon Calvin writes contemporary romantic suspense and is currently working on book three of her Gulf Coast Rescue series about the men and women of the US Coast Guard.


Cathy Perkins said...

I do wonder at times how readers "view" my characters.

And covers - it drove me nuts that the female on the cover of The Professor had the wrong hair. - ah the things we can obsess over ;)

Julie Moffett said...

I'm totally for the headless, obscured or silhouetted figures. Now that makes me sound creepy. Ha! Great blog, Sharon!!

Maureen A. Miller said...

My favorite covers are the ones where the characters' backs are to the camera. I like the anonymity. Leave it up to the reader's imagination to 'see' the character. :)

Sandy Parks said...

Haha. I always create my own vision of the character in my head regardless of what the author intends. Just can't help it. But really, it is more the emotion of the character that lives with me rather than the vision.

Sharon Calvin said...

Yes, that's it! The emotion a character generates has much more appeal than their looks. Kind of how our impression of someone evolves as we get to know them better--what they look like becomes secondary or maybe tertiary :)

jean harrington said...

An interesting post. I remember reading how F. Scott Fitzgerald didn't describe the Great Gatsby. After reading the ms., his editor said he had to give the reader some visual guidelines. I guess that's how Gatsby got to be a blond. So, yes, we do have our mental images of characters. At the moment, I'm thinking Reese Witherspoon would make a perfect Honey Ingersoll.

Clare London said...

This gave me a smile because I dread those art forms that publishers send out, when they ask you for a detailed description of your main characters. For me, they either all look the same LOL or I have no idea what to put! Either I like to leave it for the reader to create a visual, or maybe I'm too lazy to find a reference :D.

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