Creating characters is one of my favorite parts of writing. Their looks and personality. How they interact with their lovers, friends, family. The more detail, the better. But, as I create these complex characters, I have found myself falling into what I like to call the “Opposites are Beautiful” trap.
What I mean is this. I create a character with brown hair, brown eyes, large build and laid back personality. That’s a general description. Now….I start thinking about the love interest….blond hair, blue eyes, small build and high strung-high maintenance. Yeah, the perfect couple……NOT!
What is wrong with me?
Why not have two characters that both have brown hair and brown eyes, or one that has blue eyes? Or…novel thought, both have brown hair and one has hazel eyes while the other has blue? The combinations are staggering. And why shouldn’t I tap into that well of imagination? People come in so many sizes, colors, and personalities, that to limit myself to opposites is ridiculous.
Now that I have reminded myself of that, I need to apply it. Because my characters deserve to be who they are. Scars, bad hair days, skinny, heavy, flabby, flat abs, broad shoulders, short legs, red hair, bald…even missing a limb (waves at Abbott), but bottom line….themselves. They need to be as unique as any man, woman or child I encounter in real life.
I want my readers to identify with my characters. To me, that means my characters need to be real. To be flawed. Not to seem perfect in their opposite beauty. I mean, who says that a brown haired, brown eyed character only looks beautiful with a blond haired, blue eyed character? I’ll tell you…nobody.
I refuse to allow myself to fall into this trap. I refuse to believe my characters are only beautiful when written as opposites. “Opposites Attract” is a very rarely seen reality. Can it happen? Both in looks and in personality? Certainly. But in creating fictional people, it’s not realistic. Wow, “fictional” and “realistic” in the sentence. What a concept.