Do authors prefer attractive people?

October 27, 2016 Fun Questions 12

Fun Questions LogoJoin me as I ask a Fun Question that’s been on my mind. I’ll give you my take, but I really hope you’ll jump in with your answers too, since I’m really curious to know what my fellow readers and bloggers think! So today’s question is…

Do authors prefer attractive people?

A few weeks ago I asked about the less important elements that draw you to books. One of the things I said I was drawn to are REAL characters. The plus size, acne-ridden, frizzy haired, etc characters. And I found that quite of you feel the same way. That got me to thinking – why do authors not write more characters this way, if that’s obviously something we tend to prefer? Do authors prefer attractive people? Are they, maybe, easier to write?

So I started thinking about my own writing, since I am technically an author. Of one published short story, but still. Author. I digress, sorry! The point is I started thinking about my own writing and I realized that, while my characters are often perceived attractively, it’s not always for standard forms of beauty. My adult women have curves. There are struggles with clothing, hips, and hair. Problems I face every day 🙂 However, I think as I writer I see this as my opportunity to enter a little bit of a dream. So while my characters my not be rail thin, for example, I also don’t write them as plus size as I personally am. I love plus sized characters, but what dream is that for me? I live that life!

So I wonder, do you think authors create characters that fit a little bit of their own personal day dream? Is it less about preferring attractive people and more about the author’s own desires?

I also wonder if the idea of writing sex scenes with more plus size individuals proves a bit more of a challenge, though, too? I mean, what sex scene doesn’t describe lush curves, rock hard abs, yada yada? Would we as reader still enjoy it if there was a bit of padding? I think I would… right now I’m reading J.D. Robb’s In Death series and we’re getting a glimpse of Peabody’s sexual relationship, complete with padding and I’m personally enjoying it all the more for it. But I wonder if authors realize we’d like that too. Not exclusively, of course – I want some hard core sexiness sometimes too! – but sometimes a more relateable appearance can make the sex scene that much better! Do you agree?

So… what do you think? Why are books filled with attractive people? Do authors prefer them? Do they think we do? Do we?

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About Berls
Berls has been a book lover her whole life. She reads pretty much every genre and is currently working hard at making her childhood dream of becoming an author come true. She loves sharing her thoughts about books, blogging, and just random fun stuff. She's a challenge and read-a-thon junkie, so it's no wonder that she loves co-hosting the COYER reading challenge. Leave a comment, Berls is always happy to chat!

12 Responses to “Do authors prefer attractive people?”

  1. Wendy

    This may be TMI, but it occurs to me that my husband and I are both, shall we say, past the peak of sexual attractiveness, but when we’re gettin’ in on, our respective looks are NOT what we are focused on. So the idea that you have to be “beautiful” or “hot” in order to be attractive to someone and have romance and sex in your life is–not true, really. I think I would appreciate more books that reflect that. But maybe it’s not just author wish fulfillment, but also the reader’s chance to imagine themselves into a more attractive self? Interesting question!
    Wendy recently posted…We Are The Ants. Also, We Overthink Things. And We Are a Tiny Bit Pretentious.My Profile

  2. Lola

    Great post! And you make a good point here, about how maybe authors use their characters as a personal day dream. On the other hand at times it feels like every character is super hot and it would be nice to read about more realistic character at times. Just like how all the sex scenes always go perfect, I would like to read a more awkward sex scene at times or with things that don’t go perfect. I remember Losing It by Cora Carmack that did that well. I do feel sex scenes would work with less beautiful characters as well. Sure you don’t have to go into details and describe all the fat lumps, but I think a sex scene can do without the description of perfect bodies. On the other hand it also can be annoying when a character constantly complains about her size or shape or diet. Not sure why, but that also can annoy me.

    I think what you say at the end of your post sums it up nicely, I also like reading about pretty characters, but I also like seeing other type of characters. more variations in the type of characters to read about. Not everyone of them has to look perfect.
    Lola recently posted…Sunday Post #202My Profile

  3. Melanie Simmons

    Great topic. I’ve read several books with plus sized women, but I can’t think of a single book with a hero that is plus sized. These books were written by women. I think they were willing to show a woman fighting the issues that affect them. It is hard to know what it is like to be an average guy, when you’re a woman. I could be wrong too. I’m just speculating.
    Melanie Simmons recently posted…Bloody Acquisitions Audiobook by Drew Hayes (REVIEW)My Profile

  4. anna @ herding cats & burning soup

    Hmm interesting. I’m actually seeing more and more of the non typical beauty heroes/heroines. Many with scars, curvy heroines, ones that battle their hair lol. I’ve had a couple recently that were described as craggy or ‘rugged’ but attractive to the heroine, plain heroines that the hero found gorgeous. That kind of thing. I love seeing that. I think you see it a lot more in BDSM type reads for some reason.

    I do have a few that always have “perfect” heroes/heroines and after a while that gets rather cookie-cutter feel to it.
    anna recently posted…Tasty Delights– Crispy Sunchoke and Quinoa SaladMy Profile

  5. Melissa

    Great question. I can only assume that authors right in a lot of wish fulfillment with their characters…probably because I would….they probably straddle the line between what they feel they know and what they would wish for themselves or their “children.” I think that we see so much “perfection” in the media that unfortunately it takes some conscious thought to decide to write someone that *insert top billed Hollywood actress here* couldn’t play.
    Melissa recently posted…Book Review: Last Seen Leaving by Caleb RoehrigMy Profile

  6. Lark

    This is a good question. I think to some extent it depends on the genre. I’m sure not seeing a lot of plus-size or “plain” girls in YA fantasy or most adult fantasy, and I’m not seeing any guys who aren’t smoking hot and ripped in romance (though as one commenter points out, there seems to be a little more variety among the women than there used to be.) OTOH, there are plenty of plain or plus-size or over-40 characters and protagonists in classic and cozy mysteries, where sexual attractiveness of the characters has traditionally not been a major factor unless it contributes to the plot in some way.

    I wonder, though, if it’s the authors or the editors who are pushing the Hollywood-gorgeous characters on us in some of those other genres.
    Lark recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Halloween CraftsMy Profile

  7. Katherine

    I feel like there has been an increase in plus size characters as well as more ordinary looking characters. While of course in romance the characters are frequently gorgeous it can get a little eye rolly if starts to feel over the top. For example, Jill Shalvis’ Lucky Harbor series is one of my favorite contemporary romance series BUT the fact that every male is apparently a former model is kind of a negative. You see variety in the women but the men are pretty much the same appearance with maybe different hair colors and different job. I like that I’m getting more characters who are plus size or have frizzy hair, or have areas they struggle with because that makes them so much more real and therefore easier to really connect too. Personally, I think it’d be more fun to write a character who is flawed but interesting than a model of perfection.
    Katherine recently posted…Friday Linkups: BunniculaMy Profile

  8. Greg

    Great question! I think you might be on to something there, maybe authors DO put a little wish fulfillment in their characters lol. Maybe as an author I would do the same- split the difference between average and uber-hot. Who knows but now you got me thinking about this! And I think I agree with Brandee- I notice sometimes I skim over descriptions or even if I don’t, I seem to have my own mental image of a character, so unless it’s really pronounced it might not even matter how an author describes the character!
    Greg recently posted…How Scary Is Too Scary?My Profile

  9. Bookworm Brandee

    Maybe? LOL That’s my response to author’s preferring to write in their dream world – not that they “prefer” attractive people. This is a great question, Berls. And one I’ve wondered about. Of course, we read books with both gorgeous people and the more average. I think I almost prefer authors giving us a fuzzier idea of what a person looks like so we can create them in our heads. Colleen Hoover does this. (I’m reading First Grave on the Right currently and like how Jones gives us some basics but Charley’s always talking about how the ice cream or the tacos aren’t doing her any favors…so I feel like she’s more like me even though she’s probably way more fit.) Anyway, an average person does make the character more relatable to me but I don’t mind reading about someone who’s better looking 😉 as long as they’re a well-written character. However, I do prefer reading about a gorgeous guy! No balding, paunchy men, please. 😉 LOL Wow, that’s a double standard now, isn’t it?
    And there’s my rambling for your pleasure today! Happy Thursday, Berls. The weekend is almost here! {{{hugs}}}
    Bookworm Brandee recently posted…#OctobeRecFest Review ~ Addicted to You ~ Krista & Becca RitchieMy Profile

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