The Way I imagine my characters

When I start writing a new story the first thing I do, after the basic plot is created, is design my characters. I typically have a basic understanding of what they look like. For example, in Jack & Carly, I based my two main characters on my favorite couple from an old soap opera I used to watch. The actors are Maura West and Michael Park. They were the inspiration for my characters.

In Megan's Story, Megan was easy. I just knew she was Jessica Stroup. I had a harder time deciding who Cole Turner was, but eventually found Logan Marshall-Green.

I have several stories sitting on the back burner. One is a YA that isn't romance but fiction. The two young girls in this story are based on real people so finding pictures of them aren't easy because I see clearly in my head who they really are. So I'm looking around for what I think could represent these girls. I've come up with a young Drew Barrymore and a young Ashley Greene. These are subject to change.

The other story I have sitting on the back burner with a pretty clear plot doesn't have a title or even a working title, but I have a picture for the hero already picked out, though I don't think any of you will be surprised. It's Taylor Kitsch. The heroine in this story has a face but not a thought out character profile. I really like Sophia Bush. I think she's gorgeous. Didn't you all love her in John Tucker Must Die?

So this is how the character development starts out. Since I'm still reasonably new at this I'm learning as I go. Here's what I've learned so far. These photos are great guidelines but mean absolutely nothing. Maura & Michael started out as my characters. The people I was writing about, and while they physical characteristics haven't necessarily changed, the way I see them in my head while I write has. I no longer see them as the characters. The more I write, the more they separate from my original picture and are metamorphosing into something all their own.

So my question for all of you who write, does this happen to you? Do you pick photos for your characters or do you just work with what's in your head?

By the way, HAPPY FRIDAY!!!!