Thursday, March 12, 2015

Visualizing Characters


French commander in American Revolution
A few days ago I ran across a picture that’s so close to how I visualize one of my characters that I’m almost giddy! Take a look at the beautiful portrait at the left. It portrays Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau, who was commander-in-chief of the French Expeditionary Force that embarked from France in 1780 to fight with the American Continental Army against British forces.

Carleton’s maternal uncle, le comte de Caledonne, a French admiral who’s very influential in the court of Louis XVI, is mentioned a number of times in Crucible of War. He’ll finally make an appearance in Valley of the Shadow and will have a bigger role in book 6, Refiner’s Fire. So I was delighted to find this portrait of Rochambeau because he’s almost a twin to Caledonne! The portrait was not only very helpful when I wrote Caledonne’s description, but I also referred to it often as I wrote his scenes. It gave me a better feel for the character.

I’ve collected a number of portraits that are reasonable facsimiles for some of my characters. One of these days when I’m between projects, I intend to add pages to the series website where I can post pictures of both fictional and real characters who appear in the series. This will definitely be one of them.

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