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Character Development: Casting Your Characters

What are your thoughts on casting your novel’s characters with real actors for inspiration or whatever? Is it a good idea? My creative writing teacher says it damages your ability to create unique and original characters because you’re just writing about whatever character they played that you liked best.

I’m guessing your teacher’s concern is that you would choose an actor first and then base your character on the actor.  I agree that this would limit your ability to be original and is probably not a good idea.  However, if you create the character and flesh them out a bit first and then cast him or her, I don’t see that as problematic at all.  As long as you don’t use the actor’s image to sell your book, of course.
I actually think casting your characters can be a great way to make them real in your mind.  And really, in terms of character development, it’s no different than writing new scenes for a TV character or a sequel for a movie character.  The actor being in the role doesn’t restrict the character’s development, and actually I think it often enhances it.  As long as you make sure you really know who your character is before you assign an actor to the role, I think you’ll be in good shape.  :)


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