Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tips on Building Houses for Your Characters

You can tell a lot about a person from their home. Whenever I think about the perfect reveal of a character's house, I think of NCIS and Tony. It wasn't until recently that the inside of his apartment was shown on the show. It wasn't when I imagined but, for him, it was perfect and that really helped to deepen his character. 

When it comes to houses, I'm not the most imaginative writer in the world. My characters' typically get a two-story house with a kitchen, living room, and enough bedrooms/bathrooms for the family. When it comes to wall colors, flooring, and furniture, things get even trickier. Here are some ideas on how I find inspiration to help me with my characters' homes.

Use real places for inspiration. In terms of exterior, look around on long drives and pick out houses you like. Certain details that you like on various houses could come together to make the perfect home for your character. Consider subscribing to a magazine or two for ideas as well.

There are a lot of websites for selling houses so pick your favorite and look up houses to get some ideas. Listings typically include interior and exterior shots, perfect for gathering ideas. There are also a number of websites with floor plans. These can be very handy if you know the basics of what kind of house your characters will need and you want potential layouts.

Take a trip to a home improvement store or furniture store. There are often great models of rooms in store that are gorgeous, and you might be able to give some of the furniture a try to see what it would be like for your character. If you need help with paint colors or flooring, gather up your favorite samples and keep them all together in a convenient place for later reference. If you don't have time or it's too much of a drive, look online.

If you're already creative but you feel like you need something more concrete to work with and you have the games, play one of the Sims games. You can get a basic idea of what the house would look like and try out different things.

In the process of working the house into the story, keep in mind personal touches for your characters and their families. Everyone's house has those little items that make it their own, whether it's family heirlooms or souvenirs from a vacation or family photos or just the average clutter of a lived-in house.

How do you find inspiration for your characters' homes?