New Shoes: Casting Director... or so I wish...

By Z(Aasiyah/Nolwynn)

Hi everyone

We're all guilty of doing this (and it's a guilt-free guilt). Yeah, before we go any other further, my brain is really, really skewed right now so I have no idea how much sense this post is going to make. But, a Diva can ramble, innit?

So what is this all about? Story Casting.

I recently joined Twitter (another guilty guilt-free pleasure, that totally sucks up your time as soon as you go but it's a 'good' kind of addictive. Or so I've been telling myself. Oh yeah, find me as AasiyahNolwynn there, I do follow back!). Nevertheless, a fellow Twitterian (I think I coined that term, not sure), so fellow Twitterian and good writer friend and girlfriend Rebecca Royce starts spreading the word about a totally addictive (yeah, another one!) thingie she's stumbled across - a site called Story Casting. What it does is it allows you to come in and 'cast' all those books you read and that just seem to have 'faceless' characters behind the veil of the words. In fact, Story Casting's tag line is - For the movie in your mind.

So as always when someone mentions something that will totally take my time and make yet another addict out of me, I go there. Register, and lo and behold - they offer to make a special page for authors and people can cast your work! Goody, this is even better! Where do I sign up?

Uhm, that was a little more than a week ago actually, and I haven't cast to my heart's content yet. Believe me, I really want to, but I am swamped. Yeah, even more than usual. I'm writing a nightmare of a portfolio for uni. Get this - the exam is in May, we're in February, and this project that has to be done and subbed by March 15 (to allow for postal delays!) covers the *insert expletive here* full cursus! So that means that not only do you have to study a semester's worth of stuff in the 6 weeks since uni started, but you also need to apply it and complete a portfolio that's to be 40% of your final mark. *shakes head* Remind me again why I wanted to get a degree...

Anywayz, that madness aside, relief comes in the form of reading. And this is the guilty thing we're all guilty of (forget my darn echoes here, will you, please? I am definitely crutching on 'guilty' and I will so not edit today!). So yes, we're all guilty of 'casting' people into those characters we're reading about. Tell me you don't 'see' them as people in your head!

And that's what Story Casting is about too! And man, you wouldn't believe how people see characters differently, or even in the same way!
I'll take a little example. In my story Storms in a Shot Glass (which is cast here!!), I have the heroine shy, melt-in-the-woodwork PA Jane (she's not a classic beauty, has rather sharp facial features and long black hair) in my head as actress Rhona Mitra. There's this 'something different' about her. When I was writing, it was a toss between Rhona and Venezuelan actress Gaby Espino. As for the hero (tall, dark, handsome of course *wink* and of Italian descent) I always, always had actor George Eads in mind when writing him down. It was actually him I saw moving in my mind when I closed my eyes and pictured every scene (enjoy this pic on the right, btw!)

But that's me, and then there's others! Another caster on there saw them as Natalie Dormer and Ioan Gruffudd. Total eye opener for me - these people could be Jane and Michael too!

Now haven't you ever watched a movie and gone, I so totally see this actor in this part, better than this one they actually cast? Well, guess what - this happens on Story Casting too! A good example here would be the novel One for the Money by Janet Evanovich, the first book of the Stephanie Plum series. Side note - I love those books, Ms. Evanovich writes with a humorous flair that's always got me bursting into laughter at the most innoportune times (I once burst laughing in a hospital waiting room when Stephanie had had yet another mishap and Ranger was here to bail her out and he going, "Babe", and shaking his head!). Anyway, I love the concept, love the characters, but at book eleven Stephanie was still limbo-eing between Morelli and Ranger and since book sixteen is about to come out, I doubt she's committed herself to one yet (or will ever commit to one. Why kill the sexual tension, eh? Except that it gets nerve wracking and all you wanna do is tell her to choose once and for all, for goodness' sake!). So that aside, I've always seen Stephanie Plum as a rather 'normal' young woman. Didn't really have a face for her, but the men! Oh yeah, now we're talking! Morelli is this hot hot hot Italian cop, and David Boreanaz always comes to mind right away when I open a Stephanie Plum book. As for Ranger, Latin hunk by excellence, I always saw Antonio Banderas (in his younger days, lol). (side note too - couldn't resist NOT giving you the pic of the man in the the tub! Sorry *grin*)

Now guess what is one of the most cast stories on the StoryCasting site? You got that right - One for the Money. And you would't believe how different views people have of these characters. It's almost always Sandra Bullock for Stephanie (but the author in her website FAQs does say she always wrote with her in mind). And would you believe it - Morelli is, ta-da, David Boreanaz in most cases! Jon Hamm too as some people have suggested. Ranger is Dwayne Johnson and I even saw someone cast Shemar Moore in that part. Big girl Lula is most often Queen Latifah, though I'd see Mo'Nique in there too. Gabourey Sidibe is also a contender.

And bam - there on the entertainment news section of almost every star rag and magazine last week - they're making One for the Money into a movie, and Katherine Heigl (up pic, right) is expected to play the part of Stephanie Plum. No news yet on the hunks yet, but that's to come soon. What took me by surprise here - the vehement reactions to casting this actress into this part. Some die-hard fans are even saying they're not gonna watch the movie because she'll be starring in it. A bit extreme...?

Now seems like this has been Casting month for book adaptations. I have just finished reading The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen, and as a rabid Twitterian I wanted to check if she had a Twitter page (side note - went by Ms. Gerritsen's site once, dropped her an email and completely didn't expect her to even read it. Less than 48 hours later I had a rather detailed and really, really nice email from her in my inbox. Believe me when I tell you this lady is a real nice one!). So yes, she has a Twitter page, that she's just created since January actually, and her first Tweet is about... how they're making a TV series for Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles, the two main protagonists of her mysteries. Want strong heroines who also have a life as women aside from their gruelling jobs - check Rizzoli and Isles! Jane Rizzoli is a tough cop, the female version of every big gun in the TV series we eagerly watch today, and Maura Isles is a tough coroner who brings humanity to this job. So apparently, in this TV adaptation, Jane Rizzoli will be played by Angie Harmon, and Maura Isles by Sasha Alexander. Struck me that these women are exactly how any one of us could've 'seen' these two characters in our heads. Ms. Gerritsen's works haven't been cast yet on StoryCasting - guess I'll need to fill that void soon!

Tell me - are you guilty too? Leave me a comment and let me know. And when you get a minute, stop by Story Casting and check out the casts in my 3 published works - Storms in a Shot Glass, Light My World, The Other Side.

Big cheers to all!!

Aasiyah Qamar - Cultural Romantic Fiction, With a Twist
Light My World - Available Now - Eirelander
The Other Side
Nolwynn Ardennes - The promise of fulfilment
Storms in a Shot Glass - Out Now!! - Eirelander
Walking on the Edge - June 4, 2010 - Eirelander

Aasiyah Qamar & Nolwynn Ardennes
Romance the world over...


  1. LOL, I just did an interview where I said the same thing about Stephanie--girl, pick one already! I stopped reading at 6 and will only finish when I know she picked Ranger! AND boy would Antonio work for me. Morelli doesn't matter.

  2. TOTALLY fun Z!!

    I know if I sign on, gone will be the tranquil days of reading books and there will begin my afternoons at the computer, trying to cast them instead!

    I love how people saw your characters and can't wait to one day try it out with mine...

    Hugs and as always, a great read!

  3. Story Casting is a very interesting site, but I'm with Nina. If I signed up, I'd lose endless hours there ...

  4. Interesting. I do something similar - use storyboard software to note what's in each scene and Celtx allows me to add a pic of either people or a place so that I can see the whole story flash before my very eyes. I'm so visually oriented and it helps me see the book - and then there's all of this material waiting for the book trailer.

  5. oh what fun! I've heard of Storycasting but that's all I need - to procrastinate. ;) Funny how that's something we all do and someone took the idea further and voila! clever. But it's so much fun to do though. Who doesn't storycast? Cheers!

  6. I always cast my characters and often select shots to make a collage that suits my characters and storylines. Like Kathy, I'm extremely visually oriented, and looking at my cast really puts me in the center of the action.

    The site you've profiled sounds way too tempting for me!

  7. Hey, thanks for the shout-out! Only about 25-30% of readers do the 'fantasy casting' thing, so it's fun to be part of this in-group and welcome others to my world!

    Jeff Reid

  8. Really sounds like a cool site, Z! I'm still a Plum fan, and really, I can see why it's so hard to choose between Morelli and Ranger. Though, if they cast Dwayne Johnson as Ranger, would that put Stephanie between The Rock and a Hard Place? *snort*

    Yup to Sandra in the part of Stephanie. I can see why people would be up in arms about Heigl. She's not exactly what we picture. Let's see, short to average height, dark hair, average face, that's it! We'll cast a tall, blonde with a cutesy cheerleader face!

    On the other hand, people were up in arms over the casting of Tom Cruise in Interview With A Vampire (none more so than Anne Rice herself) and that worked out. So you never know.

    Great article!


  9. SO glad I could share my addiction with you! I think I'm ticking off the StoryCasting folks. I keep asking them to add books an actors to the site. LOL. They do it too and they're super nice about it. One of the founders asked me if I was doing any writing or just using their site? LMAO.

    Anyhow, what was funny to me Z was on my Love Beyond Time book you and I actually saw the characters differently. That was so interesting because like you said earlier, they really could be who I saw AND who you saw. No one else has done my Wolf series yet and I'm dying to know who other people would cast.

    I've become so funny with that site. I read a book (and lately it's a lot of reading for me for some reason) and then I go to to rate the book and add the next book I'm going to read to the Currently Reading spot and then I go to StoryCasting and cast the book I've just read. I know, I'm a lunatic.

    Anyway, GREAT BLOG Z!


  10. You aren't sharing this addiction with me. I don't have time. Shame on you, Z. You're trying to get me into trouble with my editor. lol Anyway, I made time to read this post. Smile.

  11. Oh my, another temptation...and a totally yummy one at that. Do I have time? No - I can barely read all the emails I get in the inbox and then feel guilty I'm not more responsive. But oh, this is so in my cards for the future. I want to be both Twitterian and Story Caster. So, that said, those hunks are totally distracting, particularly that David Boreanaz...It's past 2am here and I'm now fully awake. Yeah, it's the only time I had to get to your juicy blog, sweet girl. And don't keep giving me these temptations! My editor/mentor always says I jump with both feet then I find the water freezing. Alas, it's so true...I take on so much more than I can handle.


  12. Lol, people! You wrote me up a storm in those comments! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

    J - I read everything in the Plum series from 1 to 7. Stephanie still was in limbo, and then I stumbled on Book 11 and thought, let me see what's happened. Stephanie Plum is like this soapie that you can always make sense of even after being away for weeks, and yikes, she was still in limbo!
    Lol, I'd pick Morelli, but then when you look at their track record, would that be wise? *wink*
    Oh, Antonio Banderas *swoon* Hubby just cannot understand how I can find this guy so hot. I keep telling him, you're just jealous!

    Big hugs!!

  13. Nina!!

    Lol, I gave up the FB games for that same reason - too much time lost. Once I was tempted to go back and lol, the software just wouldn't open. A sign to not go back there?
    Oh yeah, the casting is just totally addictive! I'm trying to keep a schedule, so I can indulge but without feeling guilty!
    I'd love to cast your stuff too, btw! *wink*

    Huge hugs!!

  14. Lol Chicki! It does tend to get addictive, and it makes you think, and you start looking for people to cast. Before you know it, wham! An hour gone! It's a good distraction though.

    Thanks for dropping by!

    Big hugs

  15. Hey Kathy

    I'm also very visual-inclined when writing. I always have people for the characters, and I'll sometiems even look for houses and interiors to have my setting. It does help to conceptualize it all. It's like seeing it in visuals is another layer and dimension to the whole story.

    Thanks for the comment!


  16. Hey Joanna

    I blame it all on Twitter and Rebecca for getting me started there! But then too, I'd been doing it all the time in my head and amazing how like you say, someone took this idea and worked it into a site. And indeed, lots of fun!

    Big hugs!

  17. Julia,

    Sounds like I'm tempting a lot of people with this site! Come on over to the dark side, we've got hunks galore! *ROTFLOL*

    Like I told Kathy, just like you I'm also very visuals-inclined and will always have a cast and settings collage/set-up in my works folder. I even go as far as cast the taxi driver, for goodness' sake! Cannot work if all the characters do not have a face.

    Thanks and hugs!!

  18. Hey Jeff

    Glad to see you drop by! Was my pleasure actually, just had to let the world know about Story Casting. Yeah, it does feel like a little in-group and community, innit?
    Anywayz, keep the great work up and I hope we'll all bring more people to the dark-- oops, Story Casting side!

    Cheers & hugs!

  19. Chiron!!!

    How you doing, girl! Lol, The Rock and a hard place! Indeed! That's a hoot! But yeah, I'd be in a real dilemma to choose between Ranger and Morelli too. I have a soft spot for Morelli, coz he's always there, but then Ranger is the perfect friend too, like the amount of times he's bailed Stephanie out of trouble!

    The casting bit reminded me of the furore over casting Daniel Craig as James Bond. The whole James 'Blond' thing and how the guy didn't seem to have the kind of creds for it. I fell for that too, until I saw Casino Royale and was like, whoa baby! True, you just never know.

    Big hugs!!

  20. Rebecca,

    Lol, yeah, you did share the addiction - it spread faster than a speedy virus to me actually *wink*
    Very true - the people at the site are darlings!

    Yup about LBT - both sets of people cast could work, and then too, you have the 'faces' on the cover that are Kal and Isabelle too! I haven't read your Wolf series yet, so will do that for you asap. Btw, since you read Light My World, would love to have your cast on it *shameless plug and request!*

    And lol, please remain a lunatic! We love you just like that! Lucky girl that you get to read so much. I'd kill to be in your shoes (as the words go in The Devil Wears Prada!)

    Big hugs!!

  21. Lol Sandy! Belatedly I realised I'm still on deadline and my editor too could see this post. Yikes! *grin*

    Thanks for dropping by. You're a darling!

    Huge hugs!

  22. Hey Angela

    Whenever you're ready to jump into the addictions of both Twitter and StoryCasting, just holler! I'll be there to lead you to the dark (but oh so yummy!) side!

    Lol, David Boreanaz, yeah, that's one fine man indeed. Couldn't resist the pic in the tub, he looks absolutely sinful in there!
    I'm just sad I couldn't plug my latest celebrity crush in there, the delightful Sam Worthington!

    Haha on the freezing water! She'd better lasso you to safe ground then!

    Huge hugs!


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