Sunday, October 19, 2014

Make You Characters Ugly

So, while I am incredibly busy, I have still found some time to indulge in the wonderful thing that is Pinterest.  There is no shortage of writers on Pinterest. As I've been exploring writing boards on Pinterest, one thing I see all the time is character boards. Those are super fun! And I understand the temptation to find real life people that help you to envision your characters. However, this temptation, I think, can be dangerous.

Here's the thing. Actors, or for the most part, any people photos on Pinterest are beautiful.  You know. They're models who've had experts do their makeup, take their photos, and then retouch theirs photos before releasing them to the general public. These photographs are not real life. They are not even approximations of real life where no one ever has bad hair days or acne.

When you cast actors as your characters, you describe your characters the way that actors present themselves. So you write characters that are beautiful. Not just normally beautiful, like the way you and your closest friends are beautiful because you know them so well. No, Instead you write characters that are all, one after the other, the cookie cutter version of beautiful, the version manufactured by Hollywood.

Please don't hear this next part as Hollywood bashing. I like movies. I like TV, and on-screen characters. However, there's a reason books continue to sell, and that is because they offer things different from television.  So then, as writers, shouldn't we strive to offer a completely different experience than Hollywood?

So, I suppose I'm not asking you to make your characters ugly, per se, I'm asking you to make them human. I'm asking you to remember that most people have frizzy hair, or a mole on their face, or stubby fingers that they hate. You can use that. Use it to strengthen your characters. Use it to make them more realistic. When you cast some beautiful young actor as your next  love interest, make them a little more human, a little shy of physical perfection.

Thanks for reading. Also, let this article serve as official notice that I'm not dead.