Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tales of An Unpublished Author: How Deep is Your Cast?

 AKA, “I’m really, really sorry, Mr. Flanigan, but I had to replace you.”

I’ll be honest, I come up with some crazy ways to work my stories -- hence my references to 'bizarro' writing -- and I’m wondering if I’m going a little overboard with this one. So, I’m asking for some input.

And I’ll start with what I’ll call the thesis question: Would you cast your character with someone who couldn’t really ‘seal the deal’ per se? And I’m not talking any sexual situations. I’m talking something that might be out of character for that actor or person.

When I first started writing, I didn’t believe in having a picture of someone to represent my characters. I had an idea of what they looked like in my head, but I didn’t go any further than that. When I started using pictures I had a hard making the connection between my story and the actor. 

And then I came up with a story where I knew the actors who represented them before I’d even written one word.  I watched them on stage and – boom – the story hit me. Within a few months, I had the whole story playing in my mind. A story that could potentially span three novels.

And the actors fit so well with my story that I was doing global searches regularly to replace the actor's first name with the character name I’d chosen.  Not because I used their real names but because I could see them playing these characters so well, I'd slip in their real name by accident. (I know, crazy, but it worked.) 

Is there such a thing as a perfect cast for a story? Or is Abbi just on the edge of insanity? (Trust me, if you lived my last two years, you'd wonder if insanity was living somewhere near you, too.) 

And then I asked one of my characters to do something I wasn’t sure fit the person I’d chosen to portray him. I wasn’t thinking: “Could this actor do this in real life?” I was wondering if he had the range as an actor to do what needed to be done in my story. 

Think about it: Does Jerry Seinfeld have the range to play an action hero? I don’t think so. I don’t think he could pull it off.

I even looked back at his acting resume -- movies, TV shows, etc. -- and I couldn't find a role to justify what I needed. So, I had to recast one of my story characters.

I've taken acting classes and I've done a screen test or two so I'm wondering if this impacts my view of casting characters for a novel. 

We talk about deep POV all the time. Is there such a thing as deep casting?

How deep do you cast your characters? 

Abbi :-)

Abbi is still on Twitter -- @abbi_wilder -- because she couldn't give it up for 2013. Her first story, The Baby Whisperer, will appear in The Mammoth Book of ER Romance to be published later this year. --

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