I asked a question in a reader group recently: What do you want your hero to look like?
The answer surprised me. The overwhelming response was tall, dark, and handsome.
What happened to blond heroes?
I’ll admit it to you – but shh, don’t tell anyone – I’ve never pictured my heroes blond in all the years I’ve been reading or writing. I did have a thing for red hair once upon a time, but that passed years ago.
In fact, many of the women who responded to my question said it didn’t even matter to them how the author described the hero. They admitted to willfully overwriting the author’s description with their own because they know exactly what they like in a hero. (Some of them even said they replaced the image of the hero with that of their spouse or significant other.)
As a reader, I prefer when the author includes less description instead of more. I like to fill in the blanks with my own imagination. I wrote my books in that same vein until I had an editor tell me I wasn’t including enough physical description in my writing. So I tried really hard to work on that and intentionally increase discussion of the characters’ physical traits throughout my manuscripts. The next editor, of course, told me I was including way too much physical description. I laughed and considered it a lesson learned. You can’t please everyone. :)
Please tell me what you think – I’d love to hear from you! How much physical description of hero and heroine do you really want in the books you read?
Do you want a sketchy outline that lets you fill in the rest?
A picture so detailed that you can count the freckles on the back of the heroine’s ear?
A hint and tease of what they look like?
Do you depend on that physical description to create your mental image of the characters?
Or does the description impede on the image you want to create on your own?
Tell me – I’m dying to know! (Well, not dying exactly…but I DO want to be a better writer, and understanding what readers like will help get me there.)
And – just because I’m nosy and curious and can’t stop myself from asking questions – what does your ideal hero look like? What’s your tall, dark, and handsome?