Ramblings from the Desert

The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either. ~Benjamin Franklin

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Location: New Mexico

Author of the urban fantasy novel, The Music of Chaos, and the paranormal romance, The Canvas Thief.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Pudgy Heroes

Wandered over to Romancing the Blog and read their latest. Ms. Gads brings up an interesting point. Romance does sometimes utilized overweight heroines, but what about heroes? Can readers get into a hero with a spare tire?

My knee jerk reaction is "no."

The cold hard facts. I don't find chubby men attractive. Call me superficial; accuse me of being overly influenced by our "thin" culture. Whatever. It won't change my preferences. (I'm also not crazy about redheads, either.*)

Whether or not a chunky hero would work could depend on the writer's style. If the story relies on (belabors) descriptions of the hero's physique--rippling muscles, strong jaw, etc.--then I suspect the substitution of those attributes with "beer belly" or "double chin" isn't going to fly.

But what about a story where the romance evolves from friendship and shared values/experiences? (The sort which creates enduring love. Face it, after the thrill of nekkid is gone, a gorgeous bod won't hold the relationship together.) Though not a romance novel, Robin McKinley's Deerskin, a retelling of a fairy tale, has the attributes of romance. Boy meets girl; boy loses girl; and a happy ending.

And the hero, Ossin, is described thusly:

His hair, though thick, was inclined to be lank, his eyes were a little too small, his nose a little too square, his chin a little too large--as was his waistline. (Emphasis mine.)

Not exactly a stud. But as the story progresses, it is evident that he is the best man for the heroine and I wanted them to get together. The key is that their early relationship is rooted in common interests--hunting dogs, love of the outdoors.

Mercy me, the characters actually get to know each other before going all Karma Sutra! (Not that I object to sex in any way; but sex without something more than lust is just fucking, which is not my idea of romance.)

Ossin is a good guy, a nice guy. (Bad boys were fun, but I married the nice guy.) Because she couldn't simply rely on his physical attractiveness to fuel the attraction, McKinley had to give him something more. The result is a character who is far more memorable than the chiselled Fabio types I've encountered in "some" romance novels.

So I suspect, given half a chance, the big, teddy bear of a guy could be a lot more fun to write than the Blandy McBland god.

*The hero in my W.I.P. is a redhead, inspired by artist Jenny Dolfen's depiction of the elf Maedhros. Go figure.

Not much. Got in about 300 words last night and realized I'm pretty much at the mushy middle. Not emotionally mushy, plot mushy, that vast wasteland after everyone has been introduced, the main problems presented and stuff starts to really happen.

I don't know what the "stuff" is. I need to do some serious brainstorming. Don't know why I've put it off this long. Guess I keep thinking the Fiction Fairy is going to show up with a plot.

Technically the Novel has been accepted by a publisher, but waiting for a contract. So I don't want to withdraw it from consideration anywhere else--hedging my bets and all.

Short story, "Keep Away From Naked Flame," still in a Everest-high slush pile.




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