Have you ever looked at a stranger and thought, “I know you. I know your face.” But you’ve never laid eyes on them before? It’s the random photo in a hairstyle book, another shopper in a busy mall, the friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend on Facebook. Something in your mind says that they are familiar. The impulse might be fleeting., or it might last all day, and you puzzle over why you know them even though you don’t.
As a writer, I sort of get that a lot.
I intentionally go looking for pictures and people that resemble my characters, so I can get a rough idea of what they might look like in real life. Sometimes I find good matches; sometimes I don’t. What’s odd is when I run across a photo and stare at it, because I know that face. The person in the picture doesn’t look like any of my characters, that I know of, yet they must. Someone in my fictional universe resembles that person. It’s rather strange. I usually file away the photo to come back to later. Once in a while, it will come to me: “Oh, that model or actor or regular person looks like this character.” It might take a few years, as characters change and walk into my headspace. A select few pictures might never find their “match” in my novels.
Has this ever happened to you? A reaction so strong that you’re convinced that this face is similar to one of your creations? Even if you don’t know which character? What have you done about it?