Thursday, May 16, 2013

In Which I Discover My Character Has Purple Hair

Guess what, everybody? I'm using Pinterest and Google Images to help with my writing research!  I got the idea from wonderful   Stephanie Burgis, author of the wonderful  Kat, Incorrigible series of middle grade Regency romances with magic.

Here's an example of how it's working for me. One of my characters, Alastair, is a rocker kid with dyed hair and eyeliner. When I did a Google Images search  for BOY EYELINER I found him! 

Is he not adorable? Love the ironic eyeroll! Must incorporate the purple hair!  After some sleuthing, I discovered that in real life, his name is Adrian Heard and he lives in Australia. But to me he's clearly Alastair Templeton, a British-born rocker, New York resident and magic-loving sidekick to my heroines. Here's what else I learned:

Alastair is an emo boy. That was the label for all the pictures of boys with eyeliner on Google Images.  I had heard of emo. I knew it was short for "emotional," that the term is often applied to music as well, and that my nieces and nephews considered it pejorative--meaning droopy and whiny and way too multiply pierced. But when I used Google Images to follow those pictures back to their host websites and starting reading, I discovered that some emo boys are kind of cool.  Like Alastair, these kids are romantic, sexually androgynous, obsessed with music, and playfully wry. Best of all, I saw an emo boy in a T-shirt that says “Haters make me famous.”

You guys, I’m totally stealing that!  That is, if I can tear myself away long enough to write it down. Do you keep an inspiration board? How do you fire yourself up for writing when you don't feel like it?


  1. I'm actually not so patiently waiting for Hobby Lobby to put their corkboards on sale, so that I can hang it above my desk to pin my inspirations on it. I'll just enjoy it so much more if I know I got it for 50% off... =)

    Adrian looks like a fun kid! How neat that 'they' both have A names. =)

  2. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, Leandra! I also see those corkboards at yard sales, so you might keep an eye peeled there too...I never noticed the A connection before! Actually Adrian would be a good name for this character too, but I wanted something very British.

  3. It's a great idea Ariel. Seeing those visuals will be great writing inspiration. Love the pic -- really matches the character.

  4. Love having visuals to work off of. Like having pictures of your kids on your desk, you can look at pictures of your characters and fall in love all over again.

  5. I agree with Julie - a photo of a person similar to your character could make it easier to imagine dialogue and perhaps even how your character would react to incidents in your story.
    I might expect over-the-top reactions to any event!

  6. Love it, Ariel! Sounds like a great tool to really get into your character's head. :o)

  7. Thanks, guys. Now the hard part: writing!!