For me as I'm writing, it is usually the character who speaks to me first. And as I put those first few words down on paper, their story begins to come to me. Characters do indeed take on a life of their own and often they take a writer down a path, which was not planned.
I follow several writers on Twitter and Facebook and I love seeing the revelatory process as they share their characters' developments. Often they seek unusual names, snippets, and even suggestions for physical appearances.
I love when an author will say something random like my character is a forty-three year old woman who has just learned her husband is leaving her for a younger woman who is pregnant with a baby he always swore he never wanted. Which actors and actresses would you choose to play these characters? All you have are their ages and a very brief synopsis, but it immediately gets me to thinking.
You wouldn't want John Cusack playing the man. Most women love him, we wouldn't want him to be the bad guy.
What about Kristin Chenowith or Sarah Jessica Parker for our heroine? Those choices would elicit two very different stories for me.
I think one of the most wonderful characterizations is in Ron Rash's Serena. I won't give it away. You'll just have to read it if you want to know what I'm talking about, but there is a movie in production. Jennifer Lawrence (Hunger Games) plays Serena opposite Bradley Cooper as her older husband. I had heard about the movie before I read the book and instantly cast those two in the roles as the book came alive in my mind. I'm curious to see how Hollywood fares. I am looking forward to seeing the movie adaptation and I'm hopeful that I will not be disappointed.
This month over at She Reads, we've been blogging about Mia March's The Meryl Streep Movie Club and that has got me to thinking about who I would cast as these four women.