Zendaya & My Continuing Struggle With My Heroine’s Relationship With Her Appearance

by Shelt Garner

The future is brown. At least in the United States. So, from the very beginning of the process of developing this novel, I knew my heroine was going to be brown. After about two years of development, all I can say is: my heroine looks like Zendaya.

It’s eerie how what I imagine my heroine looking like matches Zendaya. I originally thought she was too short, but when I looked up her height, I realized she was exactly right.

Again, no one reads this blog, so I’m just talking to myself.

Anyway, another thing I struggle with is how to make my heroine physically attractive without people simply dismissing the entire story as an extended sex fantasy on my part. That’s a real issue at this point. All I can say is this is NOT a sex fantasy. It’s just I thought it would be more interesting if my heroine was demonstrably attractive and part of the story was her conflicted relationship to her beauty.

But I also struggle to do everything in my power to flip the script on the “sexy slutty assassin” trope. I really try to flesh the character — and her motivations — out. I just feel it’s dumb to not give the audience what it wants. Why NOT have a hot heroine? As long as I not only flip the script but also flesh the character out as much as possible, well, lulz?

All I can say is I definitely now see it as something of a challenge to prove my heroine isn’t constructed so I can have sex with her in my imagination. I see her as more of a willful child at this point, regardless. While she is hot, she’s also flawed and damaged.

She’s definitely not a Lisbeth Salander clone, however. My heroine is very more accessible and, like, uh…fun? But she’s got issues and those issues cause a lot of problems for everyone around her, which, of course, makes for a great plot.

But I dunno. I’ve obsessed over this particular issue for two years. I’m going to go to great pains to make it clear my heroine is not a sexxy slutty assassin. Though, I mean, come on, people. Get over yourself. People read novels to escape. Your job as a writer is to take their hand and give them interesting characters who do interesting things. If you get so wrapped up in your fucking agenda that the story grinds to a halt, then, well, you have Booksmart.

I want this to be a fun read. Something you pick up and end up reading in about three days. That was what I loved about Stieg Larsson’s stuff and if I can do the same with my novel(s), then it will be a dream come true.

Author: Shelton Bumgarner

I am the Editor & Publisher of The Trumplandia Report

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