Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ugly but Interesting

Well, having read quite a lot of sci-fi and fantasy in my time (and romance) I have to say, that there are a lot of male lead characters out there who are, and I can put it no other way, hunks. They have rippling muscles, tanned skin, gorgeous faces, etc, etc, blah, blah. They are also intelligent and honest and all goody goody. Hardly any flaws at all!

Now, don't get me wrong, we all like looking at beautiful people (sales of tabloid magazines attest to that) but in real life, what would be the chances of coming across a 'perfect' man? I would say pretty close to zero.

Sure, romance sells the notion that the perfect man; tall, handsome and good looking is just around the corner for those who deserve them (or don't), but really, it's all just fantasy, isn't it? I hope the old 'Barbara Cartland' days are well and truly numbered, I really do. I mean, living in the 21st century, you'd hope we were more sophisticated than that. Sure, fantasy is good, but really, impossible fantasy? How can that last? How can that be satisfying? Taming a rebel, finding the goodness in a man who is less than honest, discovering someone's humanity, all of those would be far, far more exciting to read about than just two beautiful bodies slapping together.

Yet, those sort of books, the 'traditional' romance novels do sell well. Go figure. I know I couldn't write a character without at least one 'flaw' (and by flaw I may mean something as simple as being scared of the dark)

I believe fiction should have some foundation in reality and leading men should also reflect (to a certain extent) the world we live in. Sure, he may be good looking, but I bet he's not as intelligent as all that, or he has really annoying habits, or worse yet, is boring and couldn't hold a conversation with a goldfish let alone interest another person. A lot of my characters are like that, some swear, have bad habits, are paranoid, not so bright, suffer from delusions of grandeur, etc, etc. In the end, having a perfect match for these characters is all part of the fun and discovery of writing and reading. I like to match the Ying and Yang (opposites attract, after all).

Sexual magnetism will only get you so far, as is true in real life. Sure, initial attraction can be there. But really, how many of us could honestly say they would want to be with someone forever and ever purely on initial attraction? It would wear pretty thin pretty quick, wouldn't it? Again, I would say pretty close to zero.

There has to be something more to a person, as in real life, as in fiction.


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