I was going through reviews from my readers three years ago when I came across something that inspired this entry on The Plain Jane.
“…why are ALL your GIRL characters ugly??”
I tried to write a beautiful heroine once….and failed. With this gorgeous heroine, I became skeptical about the male protagonist. Was he bewitched by her beauty or by her wonderful personality?
I could never resolve this question in my head.
Plain heroines, however, are so much more easier for me to write about. I don’t have to worry about the hero’s affection being superficial.
In other words, I love writing about plain heroines because I know that a woman’s appearance “becomes” the mirror to her inner self. If beauty is within, beauty is reflected.
So with the female protagonists, it’s almost as if they are carrying a secret hidden behind an unremarkable mask. She is dismissed by the hero because he cannot see past her appearance. And I find this idea so intriguing—secrets waiting to be revealed, which also builds the tension in the story (will he see the beauty within her? Or will some other beautiful woman turn his head?).
Depend upon it, you would gain unspeakably if you would learn with me to see some of the poetry and the pathos, the tragedy and the comedy, lying in the experience of a human soul that looks out through dull grey eyes, and that speaks in a voice of quite ordinary tones.
—George Elliot’s “The Sad Fortunes of the Rev. Amos Barton” Ch. 5
In two of my all-time favorite books — Bronte’s Jane Eyre and Austen’s Persuasion — the plain chick wins the heart of the hero. And I think this is the dream for many who aren’t super models – not just in romance, but with life in general.
We want to be defined by more than our looks.
Tell me about your main character and why you chose to design his/her appearance and personality the way you did.