Those who have followed me for some time will know that I based Jonas’ horse, Chino, on my very own mini horse… Chino.
That’s him in his full-colour glory.
Now I want to introduce you to my inspiration for Llew’s Amico. I don’t know his real name. If I’d had a place to keep two horses, I would have done a little research into acquiring him, too.
What this photo doesn’t show is the tiny spot of chestnut on his shoulder. That sold him to me, I gotta say (if I’d had a home for him).
Of course, the fictional Chino is much taller and has a military background, & Amico has a history of carrying highwaymen. But having such a strong image in mind has helped me give both horses their own personalities in the books, even though they are clearly minor characters.
Both horses raised their heads as the pair approached the fence. Chino nickered, snorted and took a tentative step towards them before Amico rounded him up, threatening to nip his legs, and led him in a chase away from the couple.
Jonas and Llew grinned at each other to see the bold hack leading the warhorse in play.
Personally, I struggle to say my human characters look just like real people (horses are easier in that regard), but I think this is a great example of how character research can help us with our writing.
What about you guys? Do you keep photos of what your characters look like in your writing files? Only human? Or animals, too?