Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Image Vs. Character in Romance Writing And in Real Life

Is attraction only about body parts?

When I recently wrote a romance story for a women's magazine, I knew I needed to show attraction between the man and woman. But I had an issue with that idea.

Our society focuses far too much on image instead of character. The huge city my husband and I lived in most of our adult lives had a gym on every corner and healthy foods in the restaurants, but for the wrong reasons. Everyone wanted to have a skinny, buff body so they could look like a movie star. Not to live longer so their spouses wouldn't be left alone, or so they could contribute their gifts to the world around them. But to look good. To create an image instead of building a character.

That's just wrong. We are more than bodies with parts to look at. We are sprits and souls, minds and hearts, dreams and plans and fears and hopes. So I decided to fight against the focus on image when I wrote my romance story.

 
I am attracted to loyalty, faithfulness, and love of family

I mentioned lovely blue eyes flecked with amber, and a smile that turned knees to jello. But I also focused on character qualities like loyalty to family, wisdom, and a sense of humor.

Character should count more than image. In real life, it does. I'd rather have a fat, kind friend than a pretty, gossipy one. Or a faithful, plain-looking spouse than a buff philanderer. Even a C student child with an obedient spirit trumps a smart, sassy pants.

Because God looks on the heart, not the outward appearace. And His love is the greatest romance of all time.

Have you noticed  a shift away from character to image in our society? How about in the books you read? What character quality most attracts you to a person?