Twofer Tuesday - a picture and a confession

You know how when you're writing about your characters and a small picure develops in your mind about what they look like? Well, mine never really solidify. Yeah, I know Kenz is a 5'5" brunette. Kaleb, from my other book, is 12 and just a tiny bit dorky, but in a few years, he'll outgrow that and become a real heartbreaker. I usually know their hair color, eye color, general build, etc. and that's it.

How do you picture yours? Do you have an actor/friend/acquaintance/memory that you base them on before you even start? Or are yours just images, like mine? Or do you write them and then later watch a movie/meet a person, etc. and think "OMG. That's ______." Yeah, I did that once, too. Meet Lincoln:

His name's really Chase Crawford. He's on Gossip Girl and is filming the new Footloose movie.

Okay, now it's time for the confession. We use pictures on this blog that we didn't take ourselves (but if Chase Crawford is looking for a new photographer, I could try to make time in my schedule). Is that bad? Is that *gulp* really, really bad? We truly don't know. To me, if it's loaded into google images and you can copy and paste it, you can use it. Plus, we aren't receiving any monetary compensation for this blog, so I thought that factored in. But recently someone asked us where we get them and if we have permission to use them.

Umm, well, we don't know. I did find this article about pictures in public domain. We'd like to start some discussion on this or find out what other people know. Got anything?


  1. Google covers their own backsides, I think, by including the "image may be subject to copyright" disclaimer. Which I don't think is particularly helpful.

    One day I googled "free pics for blogs" or something like that & ran across several free-license sites. But that's not going to help you when you're looking for eye candy, or the other day when I went looking for NCIS/Criminal Minds images. Credit your sources & be willing to take the pics down if asked-- for someone who isn't making a living off the blog, that's probably all the time you're able to give to it, anyway.

    Or take your camera with you in public & take pics of hot strangers.

  2. I know I posted some Harry Potter fan art (I didn't know who had originally done it, I just found it on Google) and I wondered if that was bad. I really liked all the art, so I hope if the people who did them ever found my blog, they wouldn't be mad.

    I would guess pictures of celebrities are pretty much fair game. If the cast of Glee wants to come after me for posting pictures of them and gushing over how adorable they all are, then I guess they can. (And make my day).

    I mean, if Perez Hilton can get away with it, so can we, right?

  3. Su - ha! I think there'd be a whole new set of problems if I started carrying my camera around!!

    Lisa - yeah, the picture I posted above, I found on about 3 different sites and none of them said who took it or where they found it. Now it's mine, all mine (until Chase comes here and explains to me in person why it isn't. :)

  4. Yea, you scared me out of using much lately lol.

    I'm SO glad you said you can never see the whole character (most of the time)! I was feeling like a freak lately! I know characteristics of my people but, like you said, they never solidify.

    I have drawn a few of them but they never turn out right or the same. Oh well.

  5. It's strange.

    In my first novel, my characters are very clear and solidify in my mind. Maybe because I spent almost two years on this book.

    My present WIP is different. I only worked on this ms for about a month, and although it's a very in your head kind of book I have fuzzy pictures of what they look like physically,

    If I saw a pic of some actor that portrayed the characters, I would say yes, that's Aidan or yes, that's Tanya. Actually now that I'm thinking about it, Zack Efron could be a good fit for Aidan.

    As for pics. I agree with you, we don't make any money off our blogs and if pics are used in a positive way, which most are, what's the harm?


  6. I often come across pictures that make me think of my characters and inspire me. A good rule of thumb with using pictures is to credit who it is and link to their website/movie/book/or whatever link will give them credit. Which you ladies already do!

  7. If the copyright police ever come knocking at my door, I'm screwed. I copy/paste photos with reckless abandon, never crediting the source or acknowledging that they are not mine. Not that I try to pass them off as my own, or want people to think that, I'm just too lazy to cite my source

    FYI: tomorrow I'm blogging about tank tops, and have a great pic to go with it

  8. I always have an image in my mind, but its usually never based on someone I've seen. SOmetimes I'll see an actor or see soemone and think, she'd be perfect as my MC. But I have this image in my mind of what she looks like before I ever start my book. But one of my characters was inspired by Jasper from Twilight and I imagine the guy who played him in the movie. I'd like to sit down and draw mine when I have time.

    As far as the pictures go, I read an article about it too and they said there is a thing you can click on in google to make sure they are pictures you are allowed to take. But I was just copying and pasting willy-nilly too. I got all scared about it after I read the article. But I'm like you- I found it on google images so it must be okay, right?

  9. I am the EXACT same way on my characters. It's funny because some writers have such vivid imagery, but ya know... I'm more a words girl... and frankly, when I read, I want to use my imagination. I can live with illustrations of people on books, but I hate photos.

    And I blogged on this yesterday (the images thing) I am going to try harder, but I think, like you... famous people and products from catalogs and such... fair game. Johnnie Depp is public use, yes? *shifty*

  10. Good, at least we're expressing a united front!

    (Except for you, Wood. any and all pictures of me in a tank top will be under copyright by midnight tonight. So watch it.)

  11. My characters never solidify, either. I get a vague idea of what they look like, but nothing concrete. They change sometimes, too.

    I usually add that I don't own/claim the images if I post a lot of them on my blog; if it's just one or two, I link to the source of the image.

  12. Phew. I thought I was the only one who didn't have a clear image of my characters in my mind. For some I do. In Solstice, I can picture the antagonist better than I can my protagonist. In Fixing Shelby, I can picture Shelby completely. I've gone through and searched on google for the actors or actresses that resembles my characters. I'm trying to take Heather's lead and searching for inspiration! I'll post the pics for you to see some time (with the photos sources cited if possible!). christy

  13. Chase Crawford. *sigh*

    I usually have an idea of what my character looks like, then once it's written, I morph that character into a person. Sometimes a celebrity, sometimes it's someone I know (don't tell my friends and family).

    As for photos, I think technically you're supposed to get permission. I'm always sure to give the photo credit at the bottom of a post, just in case. Not sure if that's good enough, but there you have it.

  14. I do the same thing as far as pics go. It's a good idea to stay away from those that are visibly copyrighted of course, even if it's just a web addy at the bottom.

    I did hear of one case where a model sued an author because his pic was placed on that author's blog or website that featured gay fiction. So you have to be careful with real people.


    Evie Balos

  15. when I plot a story I chose celebs as my MCs but when I pants it - they are very vaguely defined
    As for the piccies, I try not to use them cos I know the photographer might own the copyright if the human does not, but I get tempted sometimes, my only consolation is I am not worth suing, so suing me will be a waste of time.

  16. Oh this subject has come up a lot at pblitchat, those Aussies scared me into thinking I'd be chased down for not citing the author ;)

    It takes so much more time doing all that that I might try and back off from using so many pictures or try harder to find the ones you are allowed to use yikes!


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