The past few days, I've been thinking about men, attraction, and writing for the masses versus writing for myself. It is an interesting place, being an omniscient writer in our characters' universe - being able to decide who is attractive to our MCs and why. Having this resonate with our readers is a different story.
Case in point: Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. Polite, well-bred, dark, reserved, deep - he seemed to have been written exactly for me. Even physically he hit all of my major points of attraction. I wanted Lizzie to fall for him; I wanted smarmy Mr. Wickham to be seen for the charlatan he was; I wanted Mr. Darcy to be vindicated and celebrated for the glorious being he is.
How did dear old Ms. Austen writing so long ago tap into exactly the type of man who would be the ideal not only for myself, but for countless others? Is there an archetype for writers to follow?
I don't think there is one archetype of 'attractive male',most recently the emnity between "Team Edward" and "Team Jacob" is the most glaring example of diff'rnt strokes for diff'rnt folks. The two characters are practically opposites, although passion and emotion are traits they share in abundance. I am a "Team Edward" girl (as much as that title pains me), and I struggle to see anything romantically alluring in the character of Jacob Black. Those who are avidly "Team Jacob" find Edward to be cold, controlling, and unfeeling.
So as I craft my own hero, I am sure to write the male romantic interest/hero to follow at least some of the pattern forged by Mr. Darcy and Edward - after all it's my world, my sotry, and if I don't fall in love with thtem a little bit, then what's the point of writing them? However, I would like for my books to be liked by more than just myself, so I will have to include positive characters who do not fit my standards but who would be attractive to others.
I wonder if I will be able to write less-attractive-to-me characters with the same passion and authenticity that I apply to my favourite guys.
Next post: writing female characters as an exercise in personal vanity and vendetta.