Why I need to see my characters before I write them

I love a good vision board – especially for one of my own books. Since my writing tends to fall out of a visual tendency, I make vision -or story- boards for each of my books. Knowing what the characters actually look like while I am writing about them helps me “see” the story as it unfolds from their eyes and viewpoints. For instance, here’s the board I worked with for my October 2017 release, A SHOT AT LOVE:

You can see how I envisioned Gemma Laine and Ky Pappandreos, plus how I categorized aspects of their lives, such as photography info for Gemma and law enforcement stuff for Ky.  I sent their pictures to Lyrical when I was asked how I “SAW” my hero and heroine looking. I think they did a great job with portraying my vision on the cover:

This is my working vision board for the third book in the series, tentatively titled CAN’T STAND THE HEAT”

This book has  few more integral characters, but the H/H look like Grace Kelly ( Stacy Peters) and Pierce Brosnan ( Nikko Stamp)

I’m currently working on 2 more books in this series. and the first one, (working title: IT STARTED WITH HIS KISS) looks like this:

You can see I don’t have too much filled in yet, but I will….no worries.

More about vision boards and how they help writers in tomorrow’s edition of PEGGYJAEGER.COM

In the meantime, did you know that COOKING WITH KANDY, book 1 in the WILL COOK FOR LOVE SERIES releases next week on April 4?? Here’s a little sumthin’ to whet your romance-reading appetites.

Sugar and spice and everything sexy make the perfect recipe for romance in this brand-new series by Peggy Jaeger. Look for exclusive recipes in each book!

Kandy Laine built her wildly popular food empire the old-fashioned way—starting with the basic ingredients of her grandmother’s recipes and flavoring it all with her particular brand of sweet spice. From her cookbooks to her hit TV show, Kandy is a kitchen queen—and suddenly someone is determined to poison her cup. With odd accidents and threatening messages piling up, strong-willed Kandy can’t protest when her team hires someone to keep her safe—but she can’t deny that the man for the job looks delicious. . .

Josh Keane is a private investigator, not a bodyguard. But with one eyeful of Kandy’s ebony curls and dimpled smile, he’s signing on to uncover who’s cooking up trouble for the gorgeous chef. As the attraction between them starts to simmer, it’s not easy to keep his mind on the job, but when the strange distractions turn to true danger, he’ll stop at nothing to keep Kandy safe—and show her that a future together is on the menu. . .

Excerpt:

“Clock stops at five-thirty,” she told him, spying the way he glanced at the empty desks. “That’s a rule I never break. No matter how busy we are, or what our deadline is, I make sure everyone up here is out by then.”

“Why? I would think in this business long hours are the norm.”

“Everyone deserves free time, time with family, time to wind down. I won’t have people working for me when they’re exhausted, or thinking about the soccer game they’re missing for their kid. No one’s productive then. I like everyone to be rested, fresh and on the ball. I realized early on it was the way to bring out the creative, productive best in people.”

“But you don’t adhere to your own rules.”

She leveled a gaze at him. “That’s because I’m the boss. I thrive on deadlines and do some of my finest work when I’m exhausted.”

The slow grin that spread across his face made her stomach muscles giddy-up again.

“I bet you give great holiday bonuses,” he said, rocking back on his heels.

Because it was true, she smiled.

“My office is in here.”

She pushed through another set of doors and preceded him in.

While he took in the surroundings Kandy wondered if he saw the room the same way she did. She’d chosen this space simply because of the windows. A corner office, it had full-length, floor to ceiling matted glass surrounding the outer perimeter of the office on three sides. Her view was of downtown Manhattan, an unobstructed visage of Battery Park and the Statue of Liberty.

The interior design was her own and she’d gone for comfort and ease in the furnishings. Three couches circled one another in the center of the room, and in the middle sat an impressive glass table, currently covered with files, paper, magazines, and a few fabric swatches. A grandfather clock sat, unwound, on the far wall, the hour hand stuck at nine, the minute hand at twelve.

A large, cherry wood desk faced the windows, not the inner room, complete with two computers, a laptop, and two printers on a pull-out stand next to the desk.

“Interesting.” Josh gazed around the room. “I assume the reason your desk faces this way is for the great view?”

She lifted her shoulders to her ears and then brought them down again. “Why waste it by having my back to it?”

“Good thought. What’s up with the clock?”

She glanced over at it. “That’s the exact time my first book went on sale.”

“So, what? Time stopped for you then?”

“No. The way I see it my life started precisely at that moment.”

His eyebrows rose. “Says a lot about what you expect and want out of life.”

“Don’t read too much into it,” she said, unaccustomed embarrassment washing through her. Without even knowing her he’d hit her personality right on the head. “The clock also has sentimental value. It was Grandma’s.”

Kandy moved to the couches. “Come on, have a seat. Let’s talk specifics.”

Josh sat opposite her, leaned back into the couch, crossing one long leg over the other.

“I’m going to say this once because I feel we should get it out of the way,” she started. “I don’t think I need a body guard, and I don’t think anything that’s happened recently can’t be explained away. I find this whole situation of having someone follow every move I make unnerving. I’m not used to it. Not used to working this way. I don’t want to have to stop every five minutes to explain where I’m going, who I’m going to be meeting with. I just go. I have too much to do in a day to worry about someone keeping up with me.”

When he nodded, she continued. “I’m willing to go along with the entire scheme until you prove there’s really no reason for it, which I think you’ll discover pretty quickly. But I won’t be hampered in going about my day in any way. Understand?”

Buy Links: Amazon //Nook // Kensington/Lyrical // Kobo // Apple // Google

available in e-copy and Print on Demand ( POD) fro Amazon and Kensington.

 

 

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6 Comments

Filed under Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women

6 responses to “Why I need to see my characters before I write them

  1. Peggy, I’ve really enjoyed your blog posts while sitting here in the hospital with my son. They’ve been a real bright spot in my day. Just wanted you to know that.

    Now I want to get home and finally get my office organized so I can do the same kind of story boards for my characters. Right now I have pictures in folders on my computer but it would be awesome to have them visible at all times.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Peggy Jaeger

    Cerian – I’m glad I could bring you a little diversion from all that’s been going on in your life! Hope your son is on the mend, too!

    Like

  3. I found this very interesting. I’ve never done a board like that. I write all my character information down, but this is certainly more visual. I ma have to try this. Thanks for the information.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Peggy Jaeger

    Tina – I write all the info down, too, but when I’m writing it’s so much easier to just flick a glance at the visual as a reminder. This way I don’t give my hero green eyes in chapter one and brown in chapter 5.

    Like

  5. Peggy, I have two vision boards I set up a very long time ago and never really used. You’ve stirred up my creative juices and I intend to use them right away as I have two different books I’m working on (one a western historical novel, the other a Scottish Medieval anthology I’m sure they will help me keep focus. So thank you for this full of incentive post. I know thse boards will be valuable and it just took your encouragement to open my eyes. As far as your WILL COOK FOR LOVE series, I’m sure it will be a big hit. COOKING WITH CANDY sounds absoutely yummy, and that excerpt pulled me right in and I found I must read more. Wishing you much success.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Peggy Jaeger

    Beverly – I’m glad you found the blog useful. I lovelovelove my vision boards for so many reasons, but the biggest one is that I get to “see” my hero and heroine up close and personal all day. I know that sounds silly, but it helps me write their story better because seeing them inspires me to be true to them. And if you’re writing two different genres – as you are! Kudos for that!! – then a vision board for each will keep them separate in your mind. All good things!

    Like

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