Ah glad you noticed that I actually did it on purpose! I have a lot of followers that are like "umm not to be rude, but Sara looks manly here : / " and I'm like yes. yes she is supposed to be androgynous and harsh-featured thanks for telling me
What a great article! (It's been in my favourites for awhile, I just hadn't had the time to read it yet.) It's so funny: the entire time I was reading this, I kept thinking about Eleanor & Park. Rainbow Rowell really did do it so well. She's one of my favourite authors, one of the reasons being the way she portrayed Eleanor in her novel. It was so well done.
I absolutely agree with everything you said here. I'm always running into this trope and rolling my eyes at it; apparently, these authors have never been to high school. Or they're trying to relive their miserable high school years in a way that will glorify them/their character. I think that's the way many people write: they write what they wish they had done, how they wish things could have been. I do it all the time, too. It's not a bad thing, it's just that we have to be careful not to fall into cliches or make it completely unrealistic.
I really liked your two descriptions of Sara. Perfectly executed. All in all, wonderful article!
That's a very good article. I can tell that it helped me understand something that I, as a newbie writer, can't yet describe. Thank you for that.
What do you thing about using non-neutral description of a character depending on the point of you? In a novel I'm planning currently, there are independent points of view depending on whether a certain character (a guy; his best friend, a girl; and another girl, new to their school and city): if the guy is there, then I describe everything from his PoV; if he's not and the friend is there, I use hers; and if only the new girl is there, I write from her PoV. Their PoVs are, of course, different (the guy and the friend are like brother and sister, they grew up together from their 3 years of age, so they are bound to share some tastes), so their description of other charaters should be different.
I read all of it and I can see why this is top searched work of literature in DeviantArt. At first I thought it was going to be about unattractive "male" protagonists, but I was so wrong. I do agree that the "love at first sight" cliche is kind of over-used and romance stories seem unrealistic sometimes.
Quite useful, well I don't write much (as I am somewhat a really bad writer XD) those are things I keep in mind with my stories, I try to be realistic, even if it can be hard sometimes as it is much easier to make thos clichés you explained.
Once, I read a book with a female protagonist who had a penchant for sweets. She mentioned that she had some extra weight because of it, and I was kind of pleased. Nice personality, not-supermodel looks. Yay!
And then we got a chapter from the lead male's pov describing her as having "curves in all the right places." I just...
Eating cookies does not make your bust significantly larger, nor keep other areas proportionately "small." >_< Whyyyyyyyy? That's to say nothing of another book's female protagonist who was kind of thin and had like no bust. Everyone acknowledged /she/ was unconventional, but half the male cast that got lines (and some who didn't) wanted or tried to rape her.
Thanks for writing this. I've been struggling with writing a female character of mine, attempting to finding a balance of normal insecure girl with average looks but avoiding the "mary sue" cliche. I think this certainly helps and hopefully I can now start taking steps towards writing a interesting but relatable character.
People seem to have trouble writing good female characters in general. I'll be honest, very rarely do I see a female character in the main cast (and pretty much never a good character when a protagonist) that is interesting or worth liking. But maybe that's just me. >_>
PlutoPoltergeistFeatured By OwnerFeb 7, 2014Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I don't think I really needed to read this, but it was very interesting nevertheless. One thing that stands out is how different synonyms for 'skinny' come across differently. I hadn't thought about it before.
In some situations it can be mildly positive as well when describing someone as having a "wiry strength" which I personally think means they have well defined, ropy muscles and tendons. This is actually particularly common among martial artists and acrobats and the like who have strong, well-defined muscles without the bulk that would get in the way and obstruct the movement necessary for their occupation.
These are really great tips and I'm glad you shared them! I could really use these in reference to a fanfiction I'm writing since the protagonist is supposed to be kind of plain and wa wallflower, and I'm happy to find that throughout my story I used a number of these tips before even reading these, like including descriptions her being bullied and trying to use words with negative connotations to get across her plainness/unhappiness with her appearance. Either way, I'm very glad you shared this advice and I'll definitely be referring to this in the future!