Heroes and Heroines: Can They Ever Be Too Perfect?
I don’t hang around with perfect people.
I’m sure you’re all very nice. I mean, you’re perfect, after all. And that’s the problem.
I’m not perfect.
I have a serious sugar addiction. (Jelly beans, anyone?)
I skip my workouts.
I prefer to “pile” rather than file my papers.
My children will tell you that, um, sometimes I raise my voice above a whisper. Sometimes.
Me and perfection–we’ve got nothing in common.
My aversion to perfect people crosses over to the novels I read–and the heroes and heroines I meet in those fictional worlds. I understand that, by definition, a hero (or heroine) must be heroic. But this doesn’t mean he has to be perfect.
Do all the leading men in romances have to be tall, dark and handsome? Or perhaps cut from the hunky blonde surfer mold? Do all the women have to be petite, fragile beauties with sky-blue eyes and blonde hair? Or raven-hair beauties with smoldering dark eyes?
Here’s an interesting point to ponder: I’ve read a lot of romances through the years. Two characters stand out from those hundreds of novels:
- The average height hero who had a chipped front tooth.
- The heroine who had a weight problem. Not just an extra-1o-pounds-problem — a serious issue with being h-e-a-v-y.
I think most readers want heroes and heroines to struggle, to grow, to become different people … better people as a story progresses. They want characters to move from emotionally and spiritually imperfect people to … better people.
Still imperfect. But better.
The question is: Why do we feel like we have to wrap these imperfect characters up in perfect faces and bodies?
In Your Words: Do you think characters are ever too perfect? Or would you rather avoid too much realism when you’re reading a novel? Do you want a fairy tale hero and heroine — no physical flaws?