Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Why the Female Characters in my Stories Will Always be "Pretty" or "Beautiful"

Post three in this blog and I'm already breaking away from my theme.  This post isn't about a castle or random trip overseas.  Instead of looking for beauty in places today, I'm looking for beauty in people.

I was working on my WIP today and paused after I had written one character describing another character as "pretty" and *gasp* even "stunning."  Oh, boy.  Was I going to be one of those writers, whose books are a parade of one beautiful person after another?  Maybe the kind of writer who adds to the growing list of complexes that teen girls (and adult women) have about not being "pretty" or thin or stylish enough?  Is that what I wanted to convey to my (potential, future) readers (aka friends and family dragged into being betas)?

Not quite.  But I kept the description.  Why?

Because every girl, every woman is beautiful in her own, unique way.

Thing is, I have yet to meet a woman or girl who I would not describe as pretty-- in appearance. I've met emotionally ugly people in the past, but physically ugly? No.

Can they-- we-- be flawed?  Yes.  Flaws are what make us unique.  Imperfections are what make us who we are.  I'll have heavier characters and way-too-slim characters, characters of various races, creeds, cultures, characters that don't fit the modern conventional ideas of beautiful.  But... I don't think I'll ever describe even one of them as not pretty.

Adding to that is the transformative power of love.  It's amazing when you get to see someone through the eyes of someone who loves them-- like the world revolves around that person.  The character that uses the word "stunning" in my WIP is describing the girl that he loves.  That moment in my WIP reminded me of this girl that I know... some people describe her as plain (me, I envy her hair and height!)  She doesn't stand out in a crowd.  BUT, when you see her reflected in her boyfriend's eyes-- she's the most beautiful thing on the planet.  Anything but plain.  It's humbling to see something like that (and, yes, all of us single girls dream of someday having someone look at US that way!  For now, I'll have to live vicariously through others.)

Ugly comes from hate, jealousy, greed... I've seen some pretty ugly people in the past with perfect skin, perfect features, and perfect hair.  And, yes, I will-- and do-- write characters like those.

But, as for my protagonists?  My girls will be pretty, my boys good-looking.

And all of my characters, flawed.

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