I suspect we all do it. It’s too tempting not to. When building our stories, we sometimes cast well-known actors and actresses, and maybe even our friends, family members, or people we see in line at the grocery store.
For me, the real casting call usually comes early in a novel when I’m stuck on a particular character’s physical form. I have a good sense of his or her personality and quirks, but they haven’t yet taken shape in my mind clearly enough.
Now casting your novel may not always be to replicate an actor or a role. Most of the times, the character I’m trying to cast could never be confused with the actor/role I’ve based him or her on. They’re never that close. It’s merely a way to solidify a character in my mind and move forward, a reference I can always draw from when I feel him or her slipping from “view,” or simply not clicking into place, or a way to distinguish characters that begin to feel too similar.
On the whole, I am of the less-is-more school when it comes to a character’s physical description. I will offer the basics to get a reader started but I’d rather they draw a full picture of a character as it suits them, and not always be restricted by my image. (Let’s not forget that we cast as readers too. Probably even more so.)
Still, it certainly is fun to do.
So what about you all? Any famous folks in your stories? Or would you rather not say…