(I'm on vacation so this post was pre-written and scheduled in blogger to post. I will respond to any comments you may leave when I return on the 8th of Jan.)
Wow. What a topic to tackle in the new year. And since I am doing my post on Christmas night, and haven't seen anyone else's, and won't until I get back on the 8th, I hope I hit the target with it. LOL I also hope that I am coherent. The sleet/ice storm here kept me up way too late last night.
Do our characters have to be beautiful?
To this, I say, to some degree yes, they should be at the very least attractive to the person we partner them with, even if society would not deem them a beauty. Often in stories there is a reference to the female not being of classic beauty, but passing fair. Or the hero, with his broken nose, is just shy of handsome. That's at one end of things. At the other end is the characters that are attractive because of their actions, that grow on their partner.
They don't need to be drop dead gorgeous, and to me, when a character is described that way, it requires me to suspend disbelief because most people just aren't that way. But they should be attractive to each other, and we decide what makes them attractive to each other.
Is beauty more than looks?
Definitely. One of my fav scenes from a book (the book I am not much on overall however) is where a character is trying to decide which man across the room is married to another character, who is a beauty. The guy winds up being ugly, not fanciful ugly, but downright smacked with a dozen ugly sticks ugly. "Oh bless his little heart" ugly. Yet the backstory to the characters is that they knew each other in childhood, and a bond of trust formed that survived puberty and the mismatch of facial features and body. She (the wife in the story) found him attractive, not beautiful but attractive and sexy.
Especially when we are dealing with main characters, and we are writing erotica and erotic romances, they characters need to have some attractivness to them, for their partner at least.
Does our overall story need to be beautiful?
No. Life is messy and ugly.
Hell, sex is messy and at times a bit much. LOL
One of my fav quotes from a TV show is from House, MD. Dr. Cameron is talking about sex, and she says: "Sex *could* kill you. Do you know what the human body goes through when you have sex? Pupils dilate, arteries constrict, core temperature rises, heart races, blood pressure skyrockets, respiration becomes rapid and shallow, the brain fires bursts of electrical impulses from nowhere to nowhere, and secretions seep out of every gland, and the muscles tense and spasm like you're lifting three times your body weight. It's violent. It's ugly. And it's messy. And if God hadn't made it *unbelievably* fun, the human race would have died out eons ago."
Yep, I think that sums it up pretty well. : )
As for the overall story, yeah, life needs to happen. It can't all be puppy dogs and butterflies and rainbows. Some of the best stories I have ever read, life happened in a big way, and it was messy and awful, and at the of the day when the hero and heroine come together, their story was that much better for it all.
Some reality in stories is nice.
One of my stories that I absolutely love deals with a young woman who was raped coming to terms with her sensuality, with the help of the love of her man. (It's called Diggin' Up Bones in case you wondered LOL). In one scene she collapses in the shower, crying her eyes out, because she can't help but rememeber the feel ingof being held down and voilated. I wanted that there, I wanted the ugliness in the story, because it needed to be there. She couldn't just seduce her man, and come to terms with what happened by positive thinking. She was in a dark place and needed to let it out.
Finally, does an erotica/erotic romance author need to be beautiful?
I wanted to look at all sides of the equation, and writers are very much part of the equation. : )
So, um, ok, looking at Lisabet's photo I would say hell yeah. LOL Cause she's a sexy lady. Classic features and all, as well as the way she holds herself in the photo she shares with us. Looking at my own face, I know that I am attractive in my own way, but I am not beautiful in the classic sense. I know of other writers who would be described by society as plain, or in some cases, as unattractive. Yet when you talk to them, and look into their eyes when they discuss writing, you can see it.
There is something within us, something that accepts and marvels at and appreciates the beauty of the physical expression of love and lust. Something that find beauty in the human form, even if it is only one of the sexes we find beautiful. That something shines through when we talk about our writings, and it is a heady experience to be in the same room with someone when that flash of beauty occurs. It's love and passion and exstacy for what we do ... and it completely overshadows anything else.
We need that quality, that inner appreciation, because we express that in our writings. And that's what makes them beautiful to read.
I can always tell the difference between a story where the author has that quality, and where they are either phoning it in cause they lost it somehow, or just never had it to begin with.
Really, as a reader, that's all the beauty I care about in a story. The beauty of the writer's passion for their work. All else is secondary to me, as I can imagine a character anyway I want, and I could care less what the author looks like.