As you read each of the names in the following list, let an image come to your mind.
Mr. Darcy. Bond. Holmes. Thor. Loki. Batman. Superman. Gomez Addams. Jamie Fraser.
Some of these characters have been portrayed in movies or TV shows by more than one actor. Some have only been on screen once, but have been read by millions. And many readers are annoyed when their favorite characters are cast for film. They have a vision of this character, and they don’t want anyone else’s ideas.
When Jane Austen introduces Mr. Darcy, she gives very general information: [He] soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien; and the report which was in general circulation within five minutes after his entrance, of his having ten thousand a year. The gentlemen pronounced him to be a fine figure of a man, the ladies declared he was much handsomer than Mr. Bingley, and he was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud, to be above his company, and above being pleased; and not all his large estate in Derbyshire could then save him from having a most forbidding, disagreeable countenance, and being unworthy to be compared with his friend.
There’s little to go on, no hair color, no eye color or shape, not even a sensuous mouth to fix on. This is the conundrum faced by Romance authors. A certain portion of the readers want to imagine their own heros. They aren’t attracted to blond men, so don’t want to know if he has Thor-like tresses. They abhor beards on men, so must have a clean-shaven image.
But another group of readers who must know exactly what the author had in mind when writing the hero and heroine. Frustration abounds when critics say add more description, the writer adds it, then critics say too much detail. This whole writing thing would be vastly improved if the pictures in the author’s brain could be forced into the readers’ brains.
My “classic” Regency Romance, The Viscount’s Mouse, with any luck will be self published in the first part of 2015. Miles, my hero, in my head looks exactly like Brad Pitt. But I can’t say that anywhere, except here and later in the blogs about the book. If someone buys the book and doesn’t read any of the blogs, then they are going to picture their own favorite blond eye candy. And Cassie is anyone’s guess, I don’t really have a set image for her. That might change as we go on. It’s so hard to find photos of plain women. I did find an excellent Ms. Farnham, but no Cassie yet.
I’d love to hear from you on who you picture for any of the characters mentioned above. I’d also love for you to subscribe to my newsletter that is just getting started! Click here to be added to the group.
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