Monday, June 2, 2008

Do Your Heroines Resemble You or Anyone You Know?

When I first started writing romance in the eighth grade or so, I generally chose dark-haired heroines. I had a thing about making a blond heroine the star of the books. I also tended to write about tall heroines (I'm a 5'8" brunette). Today, I write heroines of differing hair colors and heights, but I wonder if there is a natural tendency to write heroines that look like us or maybe even a sister or close friend.

While I do sometimes pick actresses or models who resemble my character, I haven't yet made a character look like a friend. However, there is one particular story that I plan to write eventually in which I will base the look off of a girl I've seen who works at a local bookstore. I just noticed one day that she had beautiful features and looked like what I want my heroine to look like. Interestingly, a friend of my mom's looks a lot like this character and like an older version of the girl in the bookstore. But, these things kind of came to me after I already had the character in mind.

So, do your characters look like you? Or, someone you know?


Sierra Wolfe said...

Great topic Vivienne! It was interesting to read about and made me think. I have to say no, I don't create my heroines to look like me. I wouldn't do that to them, LOL. Anyway, I have to say that when I start to imagine my characters, their looks automatically come to me, I can visualize them in my head. So, if I didn't write them that way, they'd probably protest.

Belle Scarlett said...

Hi Viv,

I might use elements of my own appearance I like, only greatly enhanced, lol! My heroes are also idealized "Frankensteins," meaning I selectively take different hunky attributes from various males I've seen in life or in the media and put them altogether to make the perfect man (at least in my heroine's view and, oddly enough, my heroines' tastes tend to mirror my own, lol!)

Blog on!


Vivienne Westlake said...

Thanks for your thoughts. Sierra, I think my heroines usually do come to me already with a certain look. Then, I tend to search for actresses that match so I can have a more specific face to focus on. Sometimes, it doesn't work that well because the face will change over time and look less like the actress...other times, I can't find someone who looks enough like my heroine and that will bug me because I know that there's some woman out there with the same face as my character.

Belle, I think it's natural to pick the best parts of ourselves and enhance them for a heroine or to pick the best parts of men we've known and use that as material.

I was reading Tales from the Crit this weekend and Kimberly had posted about heroes and whether we would actually go for the heroes that we write about. It made me realize that I actually have liked men who are like my heroes and there's a reason that I write about the gregarious, flirtatious, slightly naughty hero.