Writing Research…Otherwise Known as Cyber-Stalking

I’m back in full blown Crazy-Writer-Woman-Mode and have no shame. I stumbled on some advice during the course of writing this book, which I wish I’d had during my first, and have found it helpful for me to use pictures of people I liken to the characters I try to create. I do this by searching on the internet for images of people based on physical characteristics alone until I find one that suits me. For example, I may search on young woman, blond hair, and simply choose based on one that strikes me. I can then refer back to the photos when I need inspiration or need to imagine a scene in my head.

I try to choose someone fairly anonymous and not liken them after more well-known people as I’m afraid my novel’s characters will start to take on a distorted view based on how the already famous person is often portrayed, either in real life or in movies or television in the case of actors.

So, I was perusing the internet yesterday for a random, dark-haired, blue eyed guy in his mid twenties and came up with the headshot of a hunky specimen  from London on an acting agent’s website (not that my character is British, but his looks fit the bill of what I had in mind and I hadn’t previously heard of him).

So, I cut and pasted his pic onto my character notes. For all intents and purposes, I call him “Jared”. (I won’t mention his real name here because I already wonder if my research isn’t toeing the line of conventional novel legwork and crossing into something that might warrant a restraining order on his part.)

I do some more poking around and find that he’s got a Twitter page. So I follow him. Being that he’s an actor, I figure I have to keep tabs on this guy in case my book ever hits the big screen, maybe he’ll just want to play the part I already have all planned out for him.

It’s been both an amusing and useful tool in the writing process for me. What about you? What tools do you use in your writing to help you with researching a novel, bringing a character to life, or gleaning inspiration for scenes as you work them out in your head?



Filed under Writing

2 responses to “Writing Research…Otherwise Known as Cyber-Stalking

  1. This is a neat tool, Christine…(a certain poo-tossing jogger comes to mind as a potential character – lol).

    I LOVE research (but I usually write non-fiction). For a story I did about a local murder in 1869, I had to depend on newspaper stories of the time to describe the victim’s appearance, and comments from her relatives at the trial to determine her personality. Describing the murderer was harder…

    Good luck with the new book!


  2. Christine Rice

    Ahhh…Wendy, yes, I am waiting patiently for an opportunity to use poo-tossing in one of my books.

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