Oct 28, 2013

Posted by in Question | 4 Comments

Question – Do You Ever Picture A “Bob” You Know?

Question Visual Again

Has this ever happened to you?  You are starting a new book.  The heroine suddenly spots what can only be described as a vision in perfectly fitted jeans.  She describes him as being tall, well muscled with dark hair and eyes so blue you can see the color from across the darkened room.  She finds him so hot, she can’t stand it.  And with that description, you are finding him hard to resist too.

Finally, your heroine falls into conversation with the perfect male specimen she so yummily described in earlier pages.  Then he introduces himself.  His name is Bob.

Suddenly your image of him changes.  He warps into a balding man with a horrible comb over, a beer gut the eyes the color of barf.  Oh no!  In your mind, he’s becoming your uncle Bob!

Well damn.

Luckily I have never had this happen to me to that extent.  But the color of hair or the voice changes in my mind if my hero or heroine’s name is the same as someone I know well.  For example, I have trouble picturing Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series’ Jason the way she writes him because instead I imagine a shadow of my husband.  Same with heroes who have my brother’s names or heroines with my name.

But how about you?  When an author names one of her characters “Bob” (or whatever), do you picture a “Bob” you know?

  1. Lol, no I do not

  2. I don’t have trouble with having characters “Bob-ed” by actual people I know, but the names and descriptions authors use can affect my reading. Feels sheepish to admit it, but certain old-fashioned names like Sidney or Ralph, put me off. Also unusual Celtic names if I can’t locate a correct pronunciation with a search. I dislike anything that interrupts the flow of the story, and not being able to decide how a character’s name should be said is a stumbling block. I’ve even written to authors trying to get names clarified. Zsadist, from the BDB, drove me nuts until I found an interview where Ward explained that the Z was silent.

    Pretty persnickety, eh?

  3. Northwoman says:

    I occasionally picture someone with the same name. Other times I just picture a character as someone I know who doesn’t have that name, maybe someone I know who has a similar personality? But I also have a tendency to picture the yummy man as my perfect vision of a yummy man no matter how he is described. 🙂

  4. I’ve never pictured someone I know in real life, but sometimes the image of the character in my mind will for some reason be completely different. For example, in my head Valek from Poison Study has green eyes and not blue. Or, some character whose name I can’t remember is black instead of white. Other times it’s a little bit more distracting, like that one time when I pictured the hero being cross-eyed and very hairy. It was so bad I couldn’t finish the book.

    Btw, I’ve never encountered a heroine with my name, but I’m sure it would be very disturbing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *