I have a confession to make. When I write a story, or even when I read one, I can't see the characters.
I don't think my brain works that way. Maybe it did before it got crumpled, but it doesn't now.
Oh, I hear them fine. And I do have a general impression of what they look like. But I couldn't give their descriptions to a sketch artist and have them draw these people so they'd look like what I think they look like. I couldn't pick them out of a line-up. Because I don't think they look like anything more than an amorphous blob.
Looking for models for my book covers was the hardest thing. My cover artist gave me a link to the site she uses and had me go at it. I scanned hundreds of photos to find the best approximation of what Jo Mayweather and Jeni Braxxon look like. I must've scanned hundreds more to find images for Accidental Death and Natural Causes, and those aren't even full face. All I had to do was find a general shape.
Once I'm made to go look for a character's face, then they have a face forever after. Jo will always look like the cover model to me now. So will Jeni. Before that? Not a clue. Once I went looking for an image of Zeke - because I think someone asked me for it - and Zeke now looks like that dude. (I'd show you, but the link to that model is broken now. Oops.)
I have author friends who are all like 'this is what my character looks like' and they'll show a picture they found. I'm a little jealous of those folks. I want to see my creations in my head, but I can't.
Thinking about it now, I can't really hold the images of someone's face in my head either. Real life people are amorphous blobs, too. :shrug:
As a result, I'm probably not the best at describing my characters in writing. At least, I don't feel like I'm the best. My readers are probably a better judge of that than I am. The image the reader has in their heads probably isn't anywhere close to what I would have, if, you know, I had an image. I guess that's okay. I want the reader to picture the characters as they see them. I guess what I do write as description is sufficient for that purpose.
Like in Untitled Fantasy... Captain Vere, the head of the Academy, is tall and wiry with silver hair (not silver as in old, just silver) and a scar running down her cheek. She's a battle-hardened lady and obviously tough enough to run an academy full of kids learning magic and skills for battle, but there's a sadness to her as she never really had a childhood of her own and her twin was killed in battle. Can ya picture her?
But let's take Aryl, the main character. He's average height/weight for a 15-year-old boy. He's a farm boy, so he's got some physical strength, but he's also way smaller than his friend, Galin. Black hair, violet eyes. And that's all I've got for him. Can't picture anything else, so there he is. And I need to go find a model for him so I can do the freakin' cover. Derp.
His sister, Lyra... White hair, violet eyes. Pretty. Or at least pretty to Galin. I guess she would have a similar facial structure to Aryl... they are twins, after all, even if it's fraternal and not identical. Since I can't see him, I can't really give you her either. She's a wisp of a dream of a drawing of a person.
Galin... Aryl's best friend and sweet on Lyra. Big dude for his age. A 'pull the plow when the horses get tired' kind of guy.
Anyway, I don't want to talk about every character here. I have the basics, but I can't SEE them. Wish I could. Can't.
What about you? Can you see the characters you write or read? Are they fully-formed or just blobs? Does having a picture help? Or when you see a pic of the characters do they totally harsh the image you formed on your own?