Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Meeting Your Characters in Person!

Ever come face to face with one of your characters?

It's only happened to me once, but it was the most surreal experience I've ever had.

It was a couple years ago when I belonged to a gym. I was working out with a friend and telling her all about this book I was writing. I adored the hero, an undercover detective who loved to work out at this old gym, boxing. He had black hair slicked back in a ponytail, sparkling blue eyes, a goatee, and a chain link tattoo across his bi-cep.

Forget the pretty boy types, I love bad boy, tough guy hero types!

So anyway, this wasn't an old gym, it was new, and there was no boxing ring, but new equipment with personal trainers walking around. Suddenly I hear this voice behind me...a voice I knew well because, hello, I'd created it. And now it was asking me if I needed help figuring out this new piece of gym equipment which was NOT like the old equipment I'd used in years past, in fact, I think I was on it the wrong way (but that's another story:-))

It couldn't be, could it? I must be daydreaming because I'd been spending so much time on this book. I turned around slowly, and literally gasped out loud. No freaking way! There stood my hero, in the flesh, as though I was a genie and had zapped him out of mind to stand before me. He frowned and asked if I was okay. I uttered a few grunts , my jaw still hanging wide open, my breathing all choppy. He backed away and smiled a little warily, then told my friend to tell me to take it easy, I didn't look so good, and he was around if we needed anything.

I was in total shock. He looked EXACTLY like the character I'd created in my mind, right down to the ponytail, goatee and the same tattoo on his bi-cep. How was that possible? Had I seen him somewhere before and his image was stuck in my mind? I don't remember every having met him. And I loved that character, so needless to say I kept following this guy around for weeks (all in the name of research, you know :-), studying him, trying to make my character even more three dimensional and real. After all, I had a real life model to go by now.

He transferred to another gym soon after. LOL! Gee, wonder why?

So my question is, have any of you ever met one of your characters in the flesh? What was the experiece like? What do you think we draw upon when creating our characters? Fantasies, people we admire, what? This mystery writer wants to know!



Cassy Pickard said...

Kari: I'm big believer in many things not clearly and obviously understood. Mind you, this comes from someone with a degree in methodological issues in health care research--many of my friends wonder if I've lost it. Nevertheless, explanations often don't come easily.

What a great story!

No, I haven't met face-to-face one of my characters. But, I'd love to. Mine are more amalgams of people I know and characteristics I enjoy (or not).

Hmm, I'm going to keep an eye out for my hunky Italian former-special ops guy.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

LOL Cassy, he sounds yum-may! There are just some characters that are too good to be true....or so I thought :) Now I can't stop looking everywhere for others!

Mary Martinez said...

Great blog. Like Cassy though I have never met any of my characters. Most are a mixture of all my friends and myself rolled into one. Each have characteristics of someone I know. And my ex husband is used a lot in the villains I create!

Thanks for the story,

Leann said...

I did indeed meet one of my characters. I was in Scotland and I was eating as their version of a fast food restaurant. He was standing in line in front of me. I slowly crept around him to get another look at his face. When he noticed me, I smiled weakly. What I should've done was ask if I could take his picture. This character was the one character that appeared in all 3 books of the the trilogy I wrote.

Anita Clenney said...

What a great story Kari. You too Leann. I've never met any of my characters in real life, although I've had quite a jolt from a character on a movie. My husband and I were watching the last X-Men, and when I heard this character's voice, I thought, "It's Ronan. No way." Then I saw him and from a distance he really did resemble my character. Close up, not quite as much.

Lindsay said...

Interesting and almost spooky post running into a character in real life.
I guess I'm luck to never have met any of my characters. Cause they're either a nurse, not that I have anything against them, use to be one once and my mother was one, or have a gun in their hand. With my luck the gun would be pointed at me.
I've used names of people I know, with their knowledge. Usually they work at my local Starbucks but that's a close to it I have ever come.
Well, I take that back. In my full I do use some of the characteristics of my dog for that lazy, good-for-nothing, couch spud, doesn't listen to me unless he wants to, collie. He does have the same name as the character, and boy is he a character.

Cassy Pickard said...

I have found that people actually WANT to be characters in one of my books. I joke with folks about "better be nice to me or I might kill you off in the story." They love it! I've been asked what I'd like to know to make it more real. Gosh, can you imagine begging to be iced?

Lindsay said...

I had a friend/character who was excited when she, that is her character, got shot. She bugged me to death, pun maybe intended, to read the scene.
Choice-kill for real or let her read it. She's still alive.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

I would love to meet more of my characters! It was soooo freaky. To see someone who is close to your characters is one thing, but to see an exact replica just doesn't seem possible. Only it is! I hope you all get to experience it someday :-)

Liz Lipperman said...

Sorry I'm late chiming in, but as you know, I have been dealing with a broken computer.

Anyway, although I have never actually met any of my characters, my latest heroine in my Casserole Lovers Mystery series is me with her fast food appetite and her refusal to eat any red meat except overcooked hamburger meat.

Okay-minus the great hair and fantastic body - and oh yeah, the late twenties thing!!!

Great post, Kari.