The Day I Saw My Hero Look at Me

I already told you about my hero, Andert of Lar Elien. For me, it was always a little difficult to see his face in my mind. I tried to find pics that looked like him. Not much luck. Nobody met my vision of my hero.

Now, I have writing friends who browse actor lists to find their characters’ faces. I’ve gone that way but it usually doesn’t work for me. So I have to do with a vague sense of what they look like beyond color of hair and eye, or any important details like the tell-tale scar Andert acquires in the first novel. (Yes, I think scars are romantic!)

I even have writing friends who draw their characters. My talent doesn’t expand that far, to be brutally honest. I can draw stick figures, and stick horsies, and get a couple of doodles to look nice. Portraits? Hopeless. And it’s equally hopeless to ask someone to draw a picture only I can see in my mind.

And then, quite suddenly, Andert looked at me from a movie poster. My heart stopped for a moment. I had just walked into the local train station (called Main Station, plain hyperbole until a few years ago) which incidentially also houses the biggest cinema in town. Until that moment, I hadn’t planned on watching The Lord of the Rings but then I had to. You see, it was one single poster of Aragorn that showed me Andert. And in fact, Aragorn (and of course, Viggo Mortensen) doesn’t really look like Andert, at least not in the movie. Andert’s face is a bit thinner than Aragorn’s. It was that one single shot that did it for me. And I can’t find it on the web, or I would have linked you up.

So, how do you discover your charaters’ faces? How do you go about visualizing them?

About Hannah Steenbock

Hannah Steenbock is an author, dreamer, and coach. She has published several short stories in English and German, as well as one novel in German. In 2013 she started self-publishing her work. In 2014, she has won two awards for her short story "Sequoia".
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5 Responses to The Day I Saw My Hero Look at Me

  1. Marissa says:

    You know, I’ve never developed a character well enough to have a REAL image of one in my mind. I’m still working on short sketches as my writing exercise. Very interesting about getting a concrete image – of course that is what you need to do, I just never thought about it before!

  2. Well, I can work with a fairly vague image if I know other traits, as well. It’s a lot of fun to finally find a face that fits, though. There is a man I see fairly often in the university cafeteria. He has no idea he’s my model for a rather nasty antagonist, the poor guy.

  3. Renee says:

    Lol. Folks just never know what they’re inspiring authors to write. It’s neat how you happened upon a picture of Aragorn that fit your image of Andert, even if Aragorn is a bit fuller in the face.

    I discovered one of my characters in a book called “Paris: Then and Now.” It’s a picture of a young girl circa 1890’s Paris at the Bird Market. My character’s name is Bella, and she’s 6 years-old. Beyond that, I’m not too sure yet. She’s hasn’t really enlightened me to the story she wants to tell yet, but I have her picture printed out and sitting on my desk for inspiration.

  4. I love your story! Yes, it’s often weird where authors find inspiration. I love hearing about those moments, because we can all use techniques to fire up our imagination. Here’s hoping that Bella will start to speak to you soon. *sends luck*

  5. Renee says:

    Thanks! I hope so, too!

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