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?


  1. I look for a beautiful heart, wish the world did.

  2. Great points! I think initially all we have to go by is how someone looks. But you can tell a lot about a person through his/her eyes and smile. It's usually right there. A kind face can make someone ten times more attractive and nice to be around than a movie star, any day!

  3. Excellent post! And so true. I wish so many teens could read and understand this~

  4. I think that's why it's hard for me to write typical romance. I love to focus on what's inside.

  5. It's hard to look into a person's heart with a casual glance.We all have times when we ourselves don't want to be examined by another person. We have to allow it though. We also have to look at the heart of another person when we go through the process of getting to know him or her- whether for friendship or for a love interest. I prefer to be able to know a person's heart than know how good looking someone is.

  6. I always do my best to look at the heart of an individual and not the exterior. This is such a beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing.

  7. Most definitely. Society emphasizes outward appearance and it is no wonder that there are so many disillusioned folks in the world.

    It is tough to pick one character quality, but if I had to, I'd go with integrity. What is that person like when no one is watching? Are they compassionate? Giving? Or does privacy expose another side?

  8. It takes time and seeing the other person in many situations to discern character. The initial attraction is like the cover on a book. It invites you to explore the contents.

    Of course, there are exceptions. My late husband and I met on eHarmony.com. We did not see a picture of each other until we'd been communicating for over a month. Many written messages and phone calls drew us together as we shared.

  9. Hi Jeanette! What a lovely point you bring up...what does attract us? I think as an older (a-hem!) person, I look a little deeper, but I'm sure I was attracted to looks as a 20-something.
    Now I really prize faith. For some reason, seeing people pray and worship can bring tears to my eyes. I'm still not through trying to figure that out. Not sure why it touches me so much..maybe it's the humility? Well, I just know I love that.
    June Blessings!


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