I am an Internet Stalker. Don't be alarmed--I'm harmless, really, I am.
Internet stalking was something I began when the Internet was still new. Back then, I was just beginning to discover who I was as an author. I had been imagining Nick Mancuso as Palmer, looking like he did during Loving Evangeline, but my memory was fading. Loving Evangeline was 10 years old at the time and I'd been imagining him in the part for close to 20. I watched whatever I could on television (which wasn't much, because I didn't know which titles to look for), and combed the rental shelves for whatever I could find (which wasn't much because, again, I really didn't know what to look for), and so I started looking him up online. Again, this was over 10 years ago, when the Internet was still in its infancy and so there were few photos online and that was about all. Still, it was enough for me to gel Palmer's hair and eye colour, and how he looked when he smiled and things like that, which helped to feed my writing.
Later, as the body of content on the Internet grew, I was able to watch Nick on YouTube. I found and joined an online fan club which led to my meeting him (in a controlled setting and at his request, I assure you), which, in turn, fueled my writing even more, because now I can write about his physicality, mannerisms, and the sound of his voice, making Palmer as well-rounded a character as Molly.
I am told that this is unusual and that not all authors cast their characters before writing. I suppose that makes me more visual than most. My best "writing" occurs late at night in the moments twixt awakefulness and sleep or in the wee hours of the morning when I can't sleep. I close my eyes and imagine the characters interacting, how they look when they move, and what they do; I can almost hear what they say.
My latest stalking project is Robert Carlyle.
I first "met" Robert Carlyle in the persona of Nicholas Rush on Stargate: Universe, and I disliked the character. But then Rush began to mellow. He had a terminal wife to whom he was faithful though tempted by a student, whom he still loved. He killed a member of the Alucian Alliance for killing Guinn. He loathed the side of him that could kill an ally out of anger. He learned to form an alliance with the SGU soldiers. He was growing into a complex and likeable character.
I searched up his filmography. The Full Monty was on television in the last week or so. I loved the movie. The character he played was so different from Rush that it was fun to see the contrast. I also saw a few clips on YouTube, but have barely begun to scratch the surface of this amazing actor.
It's incredibly fun to be able to write for a new character, especially when such a versatile and talented actor has been cast in the part.