Character Depiction Differences

As a writer, creating dynamic characters is one of my favorite things. I’m one of those writers, who can tell you what the character was like as a five-year-old, what their favorite food is and where they’ll be in ten years. For an extrovert like me, getting to know my characters is as important as getting to know my friends.

But, the funny thing about writing is that all we have are our words. We might blog the perfect fan-cast, but at the end of the day, our words are the only indicators readers have of a character’s looks.

And, sometimes, what the reader sees is very different from the writer’s intention. For example, I remember being so upset when the first Harry Potter movie came out, because in my head, Prof. McGonagall was young, perhaps like Anne Hathaway (Or an older version of me?) In that same series, I, along with other fans, were crushed to find Sirius and Remus not portrayed by hunky dudes.

With my own writing, I’ve witnessed people get get character descriptions wrong, no matter how clearly I thought I worded it. Sometimes, this is important in the case of ensuring the minority characters are not white-washed, but sometimes it’s just funny. As writers, I think we need to remember this, so we don’t get too stressed out about finding the perfect adjective for hair color.

Case in point: my character, Kenzie. His first line of description is, “His grey tee shirt displayed two muscular, tattooed arms. Ashy blond hair shaded intense amber eyes, the stormy sort that made you take a step back. ”

Now, I’ve asked some of my favorite critique partners to pick actors they thought resembled him. All images from Pinterest. Ready?




Scott McKidd!


Keith Moon!


Gimli and Hagar the Horrible merged together!



Gerard Butler!

So, yeah. Every one of these people have read the exact same book, and saw the same character very differently. Pretty cool, huh? (My idea of who should play Kenzie is at the end of this post)

What characters do you picture differently than their film version? Have your readers ever seen a character in your writing totally unlike what you see? I’d love to know!

And my choice for Kenzie.


Robert Carlyle!

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