Are You Shallow Too?

Lois Greiman

I just finished the third book in my Witches of Mayfair series a few days ago. It’s titled

Charming the Devil…which may or may not be a good title, but that’s another blog entirely. The point of today’s musings is the images we have in our heads as we write. See, Charming is about a big Highland warrior, Rogan McBain, caught in the foofy setting of Regency England.

The heroine is a little pixie-like character named Faye Nettles who is terrified of big warrior types…and men in general. So while I was initially plotting the book I tried to imagine these two in the misty sea that is called my mind. Faye was simple. Her face sprang into my brain like one of those pop-ups in picture books. Thandie Newton. If you’re not familiar with her, here she is. Personally, I think she’s one of the most gorgeous, ethereal actresses who have ever graced the silver screen. Thus, perfect for what I had in mind. I’ve had her pictures tacked up by my PC for months now.

But Rogan…he was another story entirely. I didn’t want him to be too good looking. You know, I was searching for that big, rugged, REAL look. And I came up with Gerard Butler. Okay, before you start heaving rotten tomatoes at me, I’d like to apologize. I know millions of women are swooning over Mr. Butler at this very moment. It’s simply that I didn’t find him attractive. I mean, the boy is BUILT. No doubt about that. Think 300. And he can act. Remember PS I Love You. But…

So I found some pics of him and put him up beside Thandie. And it worked okay, but eventually I was feeling…I don’t know…dissatisfied.

Eventually I googled Butler again and discovered…Attila the Hun!!!!! (Did I add enough exclamation points on that? Look at the pics again.) I mean yikes, is he pretty or what? The hair, the eyes, the…well…you get it. When I had snapped my jaw back into place, I printed up a couple photos of him from yesteryear and…well… the book hasn’t been the same since. Suddenly my rather dull hero took on new dimensions. Suddenly he seemed charming and misunderstood and…heroic.

But I’m feeling badly. Does this mean I’m shallow? Unimaginative? Creepy?

And what about you? How clearly do you see the guys in the books you read/write? And what if you don’t envision them as attractive? Is that a problem? Come on, ‘fess up. You’re shallow, too, aren’t you?

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16 Responses to Are You Shallow Too?

  1. Kylie says:

    Lois, I had totally the same reaction to the first picture of him. Sort of a ‘eh’…but the second…perfect!I’m going to have to try your trick of getting clear pictures in my mind first before beginning to write. For some reason the heroine is often easier to picture than the hero. In my last book, I had to go back and see if I had ever described them! And yes, the heroine’s eye color had changed mid-book, LOL.Thanks for the tip!I don’t necessarily always write about conventionally handsome men. When I do, the heroine generally dislikes him on sight because he’s too good looking, LOL. But attractiveness is something completely different from handsome, isn’t it?

  2. Michele Hauf says:

    My favorite are the ‘second look’ guys. Not really attractive, you’d probably walk right by them. But a second look intrigues you, and then maybe it takes a third look to decide they actually interest you.Num on warrior Gerard! And Thandie is a pixie of a thing, isn’t she?I gotta have pics of my people. Can’t start a story without ’em.

  3. amy*skf says:

    I’m sorry, what was your point?*dragging my eyes away from gerard as Attilla*Oh, am I shallow? When it suits I am. Here’s the thing, why is finding someone visually drool worthy shallow?It’s simply an appreciation of the miracle of beauty and braun and great big–sorry.I love to page through the Sunday ads for my heros–I do better if they’re not someone famous and then I rip them out and they’re mine.

  4. I do use pictures… of the people, of the setting, etc. I am a very visual person, so I find it helps. I’ve been know to find either house plans or draw a property layout so I know where everything is as my characters walk through.

  5. lois greiman says:

    Kylie, attractiveness vs handsomeness. Yeah, there’s a difference but sometimes it’s hard to tell what it is. 🙂

  6. lois greiman says:

    Amy, I know, right!! It’s the eyes right?? The eyes!! Or something.

  7. amy*skf says:

    You keep telling yourself it’s the eyes–whatever gets you to sleep at night.Actually, it is the eyes–they’re like lasers.Arkansas Cyndi, sometimes I get a little too obsessed with floor plans etc. But I do need to know where they are.

  8. Keri Ford says:

    OMG! Thandie NAILS what I know of Faye so far. It’s the picture of her in the dress to the left that just screams Faye.I haven’t done this, though I’ve heard lots of folks do. I’m thinking I would benefit mostly from this after I have that first crappy draft down. THEN put pictures up and use them to beef up my characters and cement them in. Hmm…half way through wip, must try this!

  9. Cindy Gerard says:

    If you’re shallow and creepy Lois, then so am I. I appreciate looking at hot, buff, gorgeous, draw droppingly handsome men. That’s why on my recent trip to Spain (have you missed me??) I only took photos of same said hot, buff, gorgeous, draw droppingly handsome men. I might share (if you beg and plead).Hugs and it’s good to be back.

  10. Debra Dixon says:

    Holy Crap, Batman!!Atilla the Hun? Where? What movie? I. Must. Have. This. Movie.I love Gerard Butler. :)I’m shallow. I like a pretty picture, but the actions of a man will make me reconfigure my ideas of what is pretty and what I like. So, I guess you could say that I’m “Shallow with an option for Depth.”

  11. amy*skf says:

    Hahahahahaha, Debra–love the “option for depth”Cindy, I think you should do a post on your trip with all your “let’s learn about a different culture” photos. It would be educational.

  12. lois greiman says:

    Cindy, I did miss you. But maybe I miss your pics more. 🙂 Please share.

  13. lois greiman says:

    Thanks Keri. Yeah, she worked really well for Faerie Faye. And now Butler works really well for both Faye and me. :)And Amy, it just so happens that thinking of Butler DOES help me sleep at night.

  14. lois greiman says:

    Thanks Keri. Yeah, she worked really well for Faerie Faye. And now Butler works really well for both Faye and me. :)And Amy, it just so happens that thinking of Butler DOES help me sleep at night.

  15. Betina Krahn says:

    You’re a writer, Lois. You’re deep in all the right places, even when you’re splashing around in the kiddie pool.I have no idea what that means. But I’m trying to reassure you. You get to decide who turns you on. It’s an American Rite. Listed somewhere in the Bill of Rites that we were given at Puberty. What? You didn’t get a copy?

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