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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Guest Author: Kim Bowman - Casting Your Characters

Chance to win! See below :-)

I don’t know about other writers, but trying to express what my characters look like is the hardest part of writing for me. I know what I want to happen and how I want my characters to react and feel, but I have trouble picturing what they look like. Maybe that’s what writer’s block is. Maybe it’s a lack of knowing the right words to use.

Anyways, I digress.

My problem with character description was solved when I bought my husband the Hoyle Card Games. He LOVES Euchre, Hearts, etc. and I thought it would be great if he could sit with his Net book and play cards while I wrote to my heart’s content. Guess what? You get to design your own player! I thought I’d have some fun, so I started designing my husband’s avatar. When I finished I couldn’t believe what I saw. I had created the likeness of my hero. WHAM! I just stared at the screen. I grabbed a piece of paper and started writing a description of what I saw: strong chin, wavy auburn hair, deep, soul-searching blue eyes. I suddenly saw what was in my mind’s eye.

I decided to try it with my heroine. I already knew she had emerald green eyes, but I couldn’t visualize how to turn a spirit guide into a human. I started moving face shapes around, trying different noses, lips, eyebrows. All of a sudden she was looking out at me. Her beautiful, raven hair and emerald green eyes accentuated her oval face and sharp chin. Her eyes were striking but sad. She was carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders.

Amazingly, if you look at the heroine and hero on my book cover, you see how spot on Elaina Lee got them. They were so close to the images I had in my head and the avatars I came up with (she didn’t have a clue I had created these) it was uncanny. The only thing she had to go on was the general description I provided her with, yet she captured the essence of my characters perfectly.

So now, the Hoyle Card Game character creator is my new best friend when it comes to constructing characters in my stories. It has solved the whole brain freeze problem I had going on. A strange and unusual way to write, but it works for me!

Images created in Hoyle Card Games © [2011] Encore Software, Inc. All rights reserved.

Excerpt from Wayward Soul.

Zanna awoke gasping for air. At first, she thought it was the impact of her spirit body returning to her physical body. The force of the two slamming back together after astral travel was uncomfortable. She expected the heavy pressure on her chest, the elevated heart rate, and the momentary paralysis reentry caused, but she’d never been breathless.

Fear took over when the weight increased, crushing her ribcage. Zanna’s hands flew to her throat where they encountered fingers wrapped around her neck, squeezing the life out of her.

She blinked many times before her burning pupils adjusted to the bright overhead lights. The swirling white beacons made her eyes water, blurring her vision. Tears streamed down her face and her empty lungs screamed.

Panicked, she placed her feet on the floor and bucked. She clawed at the hands around her neck desperate to loosen their grip. The vice-like hold only intensified, continuing to push down until she was sure her neck would break. Biting pain stung her smashed windpipe and deflated lungs.

“Cease,” a male voice ordered. The authoritative sound resonated all around the space.

Her attacker’s lethal hands fell away. Her compressed arteries opened, sending blood coursing through her veins so fast her head spun. She took a deep breath. The air stuck in her crushed throat made her gag and cough. She rolled into a ball, clutching her chest. Several agonizing moments passed before her aching lungs filled with oxygen.

As her physical pain subsided, the dam in her mind broke, flooding her senses with the sound of gunfire, the smell of burning gunpowder, and the sight of blood spraying. Her heart cried out in grief as the horrible memories assaulted her mind. The man she loved was dead.

For a chance to win a copy of Wayward Soul and a signed hard copy of Sylvia Browne’s Lessons for Life, post a comment by Tuesday night. Winner will be drawn Wednesday morning.
If you don't want to wait, my book is available at Astrea Press as well as online at Barnes and Noble and
If you would like to keep up with me, feel free to drop by my blog 

Special thanks to the ladies here at Happily Ever After Thoughts for having me.  I enjoy giving readers a little insight into my writing process.



  1. Hi Kim,
    I love the use of the character-image creater to help you define the looks of your characters! Very smart. I tend to get lost in my story and forget that I haven't done much to describe my character's looks for the reader, an error that I correct on the first read thru!

    The sample of your work is riveting. Left me with that oooooooo at the end...nice. Good luck w Wayward Soul and thanks again for the tip and reminder to physically define our characters.

    Lyndee Henderson

  2. Hi, Lyndee! I'm so glad you stopped by and that you enjoyed my excerpt:) I'm glad you liked my way of casting my characters and I hope you'll come by and visit my blog:)

  3. This is such a great idea, Kim!

    I tend to look for photos in magazines or catalogues to represent my characters - they might not match the pictures in my head exactly, but there's usually something about them - pose, expression, whatever - that reminds me of them.

  4. Thank you very much, Lucy. I appreciate it:)

  5. What a great idea, Kim. The visuals always help me. I'll have to try something like this.

    Fabulous excerpt BTW.

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  7. Hi, Sophie. I, too, use magazines, etc. to help develop my characters. I'm a very visual person and it helps me so much to see at least an idea of what my characters look like. Thank you so much for stopping by.

  8. Thank you, Shelley! BTW, I loved your chat on savvy the other day. I learned sooo much:)

  9. That was an interesting insight. I have a similar problem. Thanks for the information.

  10. You're very welcome, Felicia. I'm so glad you stopped by:)

  11. Hi Kim,
    Such a great idea. :)


  12. Thank you, Stacey:) I'm still amazed at how much my characters look like the models Elaina used on my book cover!

  13. Hi Kim,
    Welcome to the site and what a fun way to come up with the looks for your characters!
    OMG, her lover is dead! I can only imagine what will happen to make her happy again.

  14. HEHEHE! Don't cha just love hooks that end like that, Dawn:)))) She's in a pickle all right! I LOVE my Hoyle Card Game (even if I don't use it to play card games)

    This blog is so much fun, Dawn. Thank you to all of you for letting me come and hang out:)

  15. We love having you here!
    And that is no doubt a fantastic hook...I'm wondering does he come back to life or does she meet another??? I know, read the book:)

  16. Very interesting! LOL I also usually use magazines or celebrities or something like that.

    Btw - you don't need to put me in the drawing since I already have a copy. :D

  17. Thank you Laura:) I'm so glad you dropped by. Hope you enjoyed Wayward Soul:)

  18. *sigh* Yep, Dawn, you'll have to read the book. I think it will be a pleasant surprise.

  19. As a side note, I thought I would mention that I actually met Sylvia Browne (the inspiration behind Wayward Soul) and she's amazing. You get such a warm, loving feeling when you're around her. It was awesome. To have her sign my books and to spend an evening with her was a dream for me and I hope to do it again:)

  20. What a novel idea for getting a great visual of your characters!

  21. Thanks, Kay. I need all the help I can get:)

  22. Hi Kim!
    I also have difficulty REMEMBERING to describe my own characters...maybe because I write the story through the characters' eyes. Any little tip helps!

    Keep on writing and I'll keep on reading!!!!!

  23. LOL! You are so right, B.G. I'm so glad you stopped by. You better keep writing:)))

  24. I wanted to say a HUGE thank you to Alexis, Dawn, and Marie for letting me be a guest on their blog. You guys are awesome and Happily Ever After Thoughts is an amazing blog. Kudos to you girls.


  25. Kim, it has been our pleasure to have you. We learned a lot and had some fun :-) Hope you will come back again.

  26. That is great information to have for those of us who have problems visualizing our characters. Thank you for sharing.

    Happy writing

    Micole Black