Saturday, July 28, 2012

A writer never has a vacation...

For a writer, life consists of either writing or thinking about writing.” - Eugene Ionesco

This summer I planned to do an enormous amount of writing.  Lots of free time, whatever chocolate I can scare up, and an old but faithful laptop on which to madly type all the brilliant inspiration flowing through my mind.  What could be better?

But now, after a month of trying and hoping, the laptop is finally pronounced to be unworkable, blank, dead, in short, useless.  Then the chocolate did not care to make itself available... (naughty chocolate.  Now I want to go raid the chocolate chip bag, but since I was going to use them to make chocolate chip cookies, I won't.  )

But at least the brilliant inspiration kept madly flowing throughout my mind.  In a month where I haven't written a single bit of any of my writing projects, I've thought through A Woman in Shadow an enormous amount, gotten to know my characters a great deal better, had an amazing amount of inspiration for new scenes and plots, gotten a couple of ideas for new stories, turned The Huguenot Cross from a wanted-to-write-when-I-was-ten book to an actually working novel idea, and agonized over character casting.

Lord Hastings (first name Edward,) of the League, of the Scarlet Pimpernel, who also happens to be the hero of A Woman in Shadow, is being particularly difficult.  The rest of my characters have delightful, interesting, writable personalities, but he is just so... elusive.  I can't even get it into my head what he looks like, but I have an idea that if I do, the rest will fall more easily into place.
Actor Jeremy Brett
That looks like a military
uniform.  I want a cravat.

Hastings is not short, but not particularly tall either.  He is strong, but does not come across as particularly muscular.  His face is handsome, but not extremely striking.  His hair was going to be some kind of brown, but I'm so desperate that I'll go for a lighter color, too.  He is about twenty-five.

Actor Sam Worthington
Of course  his hair would be different and he'd
be wearing different clothes...
As to his character and personality: he doesn't take things all that seriously, he has a pleasant sense of humor, is amusing company, and is a good sportsman.  He's chivalrous more by instinct than design, and, while he's good company and knows it, the real heroic things that he does he does as a matter of course.  He has the potentiality to be quite an amazing hero, but since most of the book is from his perspective, I'm afraid the reader will grab onto his perception of himself, charming company but not really a hero.  And in most of the scenes he's either with Blakeney, which could put him at a disadvantage, or with Madeleine, who is really a remarkable character.  And he's either confused or in agony in most of the scenes I've written.  I'm a nasty author....
Actor Tom Davey
Face it, this is a boring picture,
but it just might work.

So, as you might see, I have a little problems with Hastings. How do you think he'd act?  What do you think he looks like?  Do any of these three pictures I suit your opinion of him? Can you suggest anything to solve my casting problems?


Allison said...

I really like Sam Worthington. I think his looks fit your discription of your character's looks pretty well. And he's good looking ;) But he is entirely way too serious. He looks kind and thoughtful, not chivalrous and amusing company. I think he would fit better in a story set in the West. I think that Tom Davey is much better, even if he isn't as handsome. It's just hard to picture him in a cravat :P
Have fun writing :)

Miss Dashwood said...

Hastings sounds like a great guy--have you considered Benedict Cumberbatch for the part? That was the face that kept popping into my head as you were talking about him.

As far as him not coming across as a hero because the story's from his perspective, I'm not sure you need to worry about that. A self-deprecating hero (as long as he's not annoyingly so) is usually apt to make himself even more likable than if he acknowledged his hero status. :D Have you read Bleak House? Esther Summerson narrates about half of it, and she makes it quite plain that she doesn't consider herself to be much of anything, yet her amazingly strong character comes through anyways.

Am I making sense here? :P

An Old-Fashioned Girl said...

I like the third picture, and maybe you could look up some portraits of gentlemen from the late 18th century for more inspiration!

Miss Melody Muffin said...

You're writing a story from Hastings point of view!! Fun!!!! Can't wait to hear more of this project!

None of these pictures really fit my mental picture of Hastings, but then too, I'm remembering how I picture him as I'm reading the books. The picture of Jeremy Brett comes the closest to my mental image, (of the three here).

Amy, the first time I saw Amazing Grace, I came away from it thinking, "Cumberbatch would make a really good Sir Percy in a remake of the Scarlet Pimpernel." Of course, my brain refused to stop there, and pretty soon a few other dream cast members fell into place. And then I went looking for others. And then, I thought how cool it would be if instead of being a remake of the movie, it was a TV series dramatizing ALL of The League's adventures from ALL of the books and the short stories, staying as true to the books as it could. I even wrote an opening title crawl for it and sketched out an episode outline!! (What can I say? I guess I'll just plead guilty to being a Leaguette!!) It is all still sitting in a drawer here in my room. Maybe I'll pull it out again and look it over.... Perhaps it is calling me to do a blog post?? Hmmmm, we shall seee....

Anonymous said...

The last one would work well.

Maria Elisabeth said...

You're right. Sam Worthington does look way too serious. He looks like he's thinking really hard. Hastings doesn't think really hard that often.

Benedict Cumberbatch has been popping up in my head too, but whenever I look at pictures of him, I decide his face is too narrow. And his nose is wrong. :P

But what you said about Esther Summerson is very, very true. I hope that will show through with Hastings too.

An Old-Fashioned Girl,
I completely didn't think of that! Will do. :)

Miss Melody Muffin,
Don't worry, you'll be hearing a lot more of this.

Actually, a completely accurate TSP TV series would be amazing. You really should post about your ideas.

See, I know who you are! :P
Tom Davey seems to be the opinion of many of the commenters, but how can you write a main character like Hastings when he looks so boring? I canèt.

Miss Melody Muffin said...

Maria, what about Ioan Gruffudd? Does he fit more of your mental picture of Hastings? (He's kind of what I think of when I think Hastings.)

I'll work on putting my tv series ideas into a post, but it may take a while to have it ready!

Maria Elisabeth said...

Oh, Ioan Gruffudd! He's the right height, has the right build and hair color, and I can find pictures of him the right age too. That just might work...