Do You Have a Muse for your Main Hero? How Pinterest can help!

Kelsey Porter

Kelsey Porter

If you’ve written a book, do you have a muse for your main hero? Someone you picture in your mind and they are the vision that pops up every time you write about what your character is doing? I do. I am a visual person and love to “assign” people to my characters. The only problem with doing that is over time, those characters age and if you have publicly posted a celebrity, well, time does go on and they may not always look like the person you envisioned. Still, it helps to have someone concrete in your head so you always stay consistent with the character.

I created a Pinterest page, by book, to capture my characters and various topics in the novels. In The Hunt for Xanadu, I found my muse for Kelsey Porter. It is of a young Serinda Swan (though the photo above is actually Jessica Lowndes, who could be Serinda’s sister, so since it LOOKS like her and the image is so sexy and beautiful, this photo worked). For most other scenarios, Serinda is my “it girl” with her combination of tough/sexy girl, and she is how I imagine Kelsey appears. Only problem with showing a photo is that she may not be what other readers feel my character looks like. When you publicly put your vision out there, it might not jive with other people’s interpretations. Which is probably why people get so upset when casting directors cast characters readers don’t feel “fit the bill.” (I have a YA Series called FLYING TO THE LIGHT and FLYING TO THE FIRE and I showed my daughter my vision of the main character and she BALKED. I thought this boy was adorable and she said that is completely not how she envisioned him. Hmmm… he’s nearly a straight out description from the book, so not sure of the confusion)

On my pinterest pages, I found all the characters for my novels and some are actors and some are models. I’ve been able to locate various pictures of all of them and have been able to use their photos across three different pinterest boards so there is complete consistence.

Here is the Pinterest board for THE HUNT FOR XANADU. Click Here:

This board is so helpful, because in this book I reference many buddhist themes, various ceremonies and some of my own experiences with the foods I discuss in the book. I have a girlfriend who realized I never had butter tea and took me to a great Tibetan Restaurant in Queens and we tried it. I explain my experience here: (now you get to see and hear me in action!) For those who have read book #2 in the series, THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB, I have a pinterest board here too!

So, do you have a muse? Or do you simply keep an image of the characters in your head? Love to hear.

13 thoughts on “Do You Have a Muse for your Main Hero? How Pinterest can help!

  1. I use Scrivener for my writing nowadays and it allows me to create character sketches with details and also include images I’ve found on the internet. It also allows me to include images of locales, too, so I can be consistent with my writing with details. I never considered using Pinterest to display these images – but it is a great idea when the book is released.

    • I just love the idea of using images of scenes and special artifacts so readers can see visually how I’m also interpreting the items. Besides, it’s just fun and makes me feel like I’m in the book again!

  2. Interesting process. I like to imagine actors that fit the characters in my books as well, but my daughter is the muse for my main character (with her permission) and her husband resembles her love interest. She gets a kick out of it and tells her friends the mystery stories are about her and her husband. Of course they didn’t do anything that is in the books but their gestures, attitudes, and phrases they like to say are included. It brings the characters to life.

  3. Good idea to use Pinterest, because it gives you a little extra visibility. As far as images of characters, I’ve collected stock photos and used them to storyboard my books from time to time. I’ve also learned through correspondence with readers that they don’t picture characters the same way I do, so I’m backing away from using images of characters, even on covers. I don’t want to interfere with readers’ creativity — I think it’s great that they envision my characters as they wish.

    • I hear you about interfering with readers creativity – I really do. I’m just honestly trying to get folks to possibly pay a bit more attention to the series by introducing some conversation. But you’re right, it could be a disconnect to their own visions. But hopefully I described the people in the books the way I see them.

  4. I find myself more and more using people I know as models for my characters, then changing them. For example, my older son is the physical model for Javor, the hero of The Bones of the Earth, but in personality, he’s more like my younger son.
    I hesitate to use actors or other celebrities because, as you say, my readers may not feel they “fill the bill.” But I admire your strategy of using Pinterest.

  5. I started using Pinterest to help me keep track of my research for Jessie. I’ve used it for 2 other books as well & it’s been helpful. In Scrivner there is an option to create a character sketch & include a photo. I love that feature.

    • I have not jumped on board to scrivner yet. I’ve opened it twice, started two novels, and I’m just lost. It’s just too complicated for me unless someone actually physically shows me and I just haven’t cared enough to use it. The old word document has been fine and working for now. (but I know how helpful it is for everything – I do “get” it)

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