So I’m putting that question to you, dear reader. When you read a romantic story, or erotica, do the characters have to be perfect? What if they were regular people? No ripped abs, no penetrating blue eyes, no hour glass figure?
The purpose of books is to escape from the mundane, to go on an adventure, experience things mentally, bigger than life, so in that respect it would appear that the reader would like to have the perfect man or woman as the lead characters. However, most of us are not the perfect vision that is described generally. So in order to connect the reader, an author might add a little realism into the character. Character flaws have been used regularly, but how would you feel reading about a man or a woman with a weight problem, a plain John or Jane?
I have read stories about romance in older couples where the looks of the person was not important, it was more about the love they shared, but I’m talking about a twenty something couple, or the woman I mentioned at the beginning being forty something. To answer that question myself I would have to say, yes, I would be interested.
Here’s why: The push to be perfect has been relentless for years. People are seeking plastic surgery in order to look like an air brushed model. On the other side of the spectrum, people have lost their lives in the battle to be perfect, whether it be suicide or anorexia. I think it’s time to come back to a little realism and portray our characters as real people. Let the reader believe that, yes, true love and exciting romance can happen to people who aren’t perfect! The woman can still be a strong, confident heroine. The man can still be a tender, loving man! And sexy! Sexiness is a perception. What I perceive as sexy, you may not.
If it’s drilled into our heads that the outward appearance is what makes you sexy, then that’s what we will believe. It’s a brainwashing that is done to us through the fashion industry, movie industry, magazines, and books.
Anybody out there who isn’t a size two that would like a little more selection when buying clothes? Exactly.
Long ago women with a few extra pounds were sought after as perfect mates. The fact that they had a small pouch made them desirable as it spoke of health and wealth. The thin and frail were thought to be poor and sickly. I’m not saying we should all put on fifty pounds, but it would be nice to know that being less than perfect wasn’t so horrible.
So what are your thoughts about the work in progress book I am writing? Sellable only to a niche market or widely accepted idea?