During my blog tour, I wrote a post called, Finding Dory Fisher. It was about how it can be difficult to change a character's name at the end of the process. Names are important. But even more than the name, it's crucial to find the characters themselves. When I write, I "cast" my characters, much like they do when they make a movie. I pick someone to embody each person I create. And that can be the most difficult part of the process for me. Until I find the perfect match, I can't write. And for To Katie With Love, the biggest challenge was in finding Cooper Maxwell.
I've mentioned, more than once, how chapter one was written on napkins in a dark, smoky, karaoke bar while I was waiting for my turn to sing. In this very first version of chapter one, I envisioned Cooper as Josh Duhamel (Captain Lennox from Transformers.) But despite the fact that he's pretty good looking, he never really felt like Cooper. So chapter one sat, collecting dust while I ran though the possibilities.
Then one day I came up with the idea of using Robert Pattinson of Twilight fame as my Cooper. He wasn't a bad choice, but he wasn't the ultimate choice. In the end, I went with the another handsome Brit, Henry Cavill. He had everything the other guys had, and more.
So I immersed myself in everything Henry Cavill. I watched interviews and movies until I felt I had him down, then I merged that with everything I'd imagined for Cooper, and the rest was magic. So is Cooper Maxwell actually Henry Cavill? No, in my head, Henry Cavill is playing Cooper Maxwell. That's just how it works for me.
I don't know how other writers approach character development, but for me, it's crucial to have a face to put with the fantasy. Every character in my book started out as a real person playing a part inside my head. I think that's why they feel so real, because to me, they are real. And the world inside my head is a pretty cool place to hang out...I'm just saying...
Until the next time...I'll be creating new characters for a new story.