Picture this

I am not a speed-reader. Sure, I read darned fast, but I’ve never broken the sound-barrier because I like to picture what I’m reading. I play a movie in my head. I like to know where everyone is standing, what the place looks like, and most of all, what the characters look like. Most of the time, I’ll try to “cast” the characters with a familiar face that more-or-less fits the description. Occasionally, I’ll accidentally cast a character with someone completely inappropriate, and be unable to change it.


For example, Jeremy, in Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series, somehow got firmly cast as Dylan Neal. I don’t know how it happened. I must have been watching Blood Ties just before reading or something. Man, so wrong, but the picture won’t go away, so I live with it.

Some matches are better. Just read Outlander, by Diane Gabaldon, and thought Jared Padalecki with red hair would make a fine Jamie. Of course, the obvious example is Jeanine Frost’s character, Bones, from the Night Huntress series. It didn’t take me long to figure out that was Spike, from Buffy. In fact, when I checked the series at Powell’s, it had a recommended tag on it saying the hero was “reminiscent of Spike”. So it’s not just me.

Sometimes, a book cover fills in the blanks–though not often for the men. I can rarely relate to one little picture of some random model, placed broodingly in the background. On the other hand, there’s Nathan Kamp. That brawny bastage has been on so many covers, I feel like I’ve been watching his show for seven seasons. I call him “that guuuuuuy”, as in “it’s that guuuuuy again”. Fun challenge: go to the book store and find the section with the most paranormal romance. See how many Nathan Kamp covers you can find in 30 seconds. I think my record is 15. He’s getting less prevalent these days, but he’s still around.

I do have trouble with blonds. There are a lot of beefy blonds in pararom/uf, but I often have trouble coming up with a satisfactory casting. James Spader steps in once in a while. Justin Hartley is a little too sweet-looking, but works in a pinch.

Heroic Kate You’ll notice I’m concentrating on the guys. My trouble with blonds is nothing compared to fixing a female picture in my head. Not so hard with ancillary characters, but very hard with the main character. Because the book is usually told from the heroine’s point of view, she’s the camera lens. It doesn’t hurt my enjoyment of the story in most cases, so I shrug it off, or bring in Kate Winslet for a quick walk-on. She’s very heroic.

Do you cast books? Who are your cast members?

2 Responses to Picture this

  1. Salt says:

    Have you caught Gail Carriger’s post (http://gailcarriger.livejournal.com/103330.html) on just this?

  2. Cat says:

    Ah–Soulless! That’s on my wishlist.

    Actually Gail’s casting is a little different. The question of “who would play this character in a movie” is a common one, and shows up on author blogs all the time.

    This is about casting in your head, while you read, for the enjoyment of the book. In my case, it’s even about having a regular stable of faces to work with.

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