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.