There I was, writing along a good pace. So many words a day for many days in a row. Then a stumble. A problem. It all crashed to a stop. The story couldn't go on till this was resolved. What is this monumental problem you ask? Some major plot point? Some earth-shattering decision on style and presentation? No, the problem was that I didn't know what one character looked like. None of the other characters required physical definition. This was a first draft and those are details that can be filled in later. This character however, the story's antagonist, demanded to be defined before the story could continue.
For a week I sat and thought and thought trying to pull this man's feature out of thin air. I failed miserably. So then I turned to my old friend, the internet. I did search after search for images matching a series of keywords used to describe the man. Utter failure.
The I saw him on TV. It was a movie I'd seen many times, but never, apparently, while looking for a character's description. I did a search on the web for images of this actor and found them lacking. Up close I found that he wasn't quite right for the part, but he was close. So I wrote down what was wrong with him and did some searches. Success!
The result of all this is that I am now able to move on with the story with the comforting knowledge that the bad guy in my book is an equal split of Michael Jeeter and William Burroughs.