Casting your Novel

I don’t mean casting it into the deleted files. I mean with actors you already know, or people around you.

I never actively try to do this, but every once in awhile someone sneaks in. They are never the main character, and it usually doesn’t happen until the character already has some dialog on the page. It happens occasionally when I read someone else’s work too. I just start hearing the voice, it doesn’t change my visual about the character.

I suppose this could happen with any length of writing, I just don’t stray from novels. One time I was reading a pretty mediocre bit of fantasy, and one of the characters developed the voice of Jeremy Irons. I thought it was weird, until it happened to a couple of my own characters.

Like I said, it always seems to occur with supporting characters. My first one was the voice of Gregory Peck; no idea why. Since then Danny Glover, Michael Ironside, and others have just started voicing my characters. (In my mind.)

I hope it’s a sign the character has become more realistic, that he or she has risen to a higher level. If that’s the case, maybe I ought to be worried for my main characters. I always worry that I’ll start writing the character for the actor and lose something in the story. What about the rest of you, confessions and advice are both welcome.

I may be strange, but I’ll bet I’m not the only one out there who experiences this. Does this happen to any of the other writers out there? Should I be worried about losing the character to the actor?


Filed under Writing

10 responses to “Casting your Novel

  1. My question for you is: Is it really the actor or just a role that sneaks into your plot. To give a character depth, it is important to know his/her behaviour, tone of voice, build, etc. As soon as I really ‘identify’ a character, I can write and write and write.


    • That might be it, I’m pretty sure it’s the role. I fear writing the last 60% of the story for the actor, and try to be careful of that. It doesn’t come up in every story, or with every character, usually it’s a supporting role.


  2. That makes for good writing and reading, I think. I have a girlfriend. I’ll call her Linda. Linda is older than me by about ten years. My main character Sybil, was drafted on my real life cousin and her early life. (she is eighty now and I am fifty) Yet, every time I read my book, I get the image of my friend Linda in my head, her voice and her mannerisms, the things she says, and her behaviors. She would have been the splitting image of Sybil in the time period, (1950s-60s), that the story is about. Funny how that happens.


  3. Interesting, there’s more than a hint of David Tenant in my current hero (hair mainly) and the baddie looks very similar to a young Timothy Dalton… or that bloke from American Psycho.

    I try not to conflate my imaginary friends with the real one but sometimes when it happens I think you just have to go with it.

    Glad I’m not the only one.




  4. When I began reading Until I Find You by John Irving, I honestly heard A voice as I read the book. I can’t explain it at all. One of my own characters in my one story, I hear her and she lives with me when I am busy writing. It’s on hold for the time-being. I hope the voice returns. It helps me to create her and know her inside out. No, you are not alone and I think it is a good sign.


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