Monday, May 19, 2008

Tall, Dark and Handsome, They're Not

I've been thinking about recurring themes in my novels. One thing that I noticed is that I tend to avoid the "tall, dark and handsome" type of man. I figure I can't top Fitzwilliam Darcy, so there's no use in even trying. So here are some short descriptions of some of my leading men.

  • "Tall, blonde and balding." Yup, I have a balding leading man. There IS such thing as a good-looking bald guy, after all--we've all known them. Why should the leading man always have an incredible thatch of thick, luxuriant hair?
  • "short, beefy and badass." Same goes for tall men. I happen to have a tall man for a husband. But there are plenty of worthy short guys out there. And some short men are incredably tough. My husband's favorite football player is Maurice Jones-Drew, a running back for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Maurice helped inspire my own short leading man.
  • "Not-quite-tall-enough, dark and charismatic." Ok, so this guy is tall, but the girl is taller. (She's taller than almost everyone she meets). This guy isn't very good-looking, but he has a charisma that is almost unearthly, and which gets him into all kinds of trouble.
  • "Tall, dark and handsome." Unfortunately, this guy doesn't get the girl.

Do your leading men fall outside the Fitzwilliam Darcy phenotype?


  1. Aww, I think it's lovely you don't have a classic overly-attractive leading man. Hurray for normal people!

  2. Hurray!

    They are all larger-than-life in some way, but not necessarily in looks.

  3. Philippe Lamont, my hero from Breach Of Trust, is a very short Frenchman.

    Hagen Rayner, my hero from Invisible, unfortunately looks like Gérard Depardieu (whom I have nicknamed "the horse" 'cause he gallops like one, not for the other more common reason).

    Richard Thompson, from Selling Forever, is okay looking except that he has crazy hair (finger in light socket styles).

    Yep, I like my men more interesting than the tall, dark, and handsome also.

  4. One of my early writing heroes had crazy hair, too. His was brown and curly.

    And I forgot another early hero. A red-haired, awkward, clumsy knight. Except once you put a sword in his hand, he kicked ass. I was going to send him to Jerusalem on the First Crusade, but that book never got finished. Then, Stephen Lawhead wrote it for me!

    Here here for all the balding, short, crazy-haired, clumsy men in literature!

  5. Mine have all been diffent, too...though they usually have an air of mystery about them. Sort of the silent types. Hmmmm, maybe I need to step out of my stereo-type and have an outgoing, talkative leading man.

  6. One of my leading men has a terrible unflattering haircut. I haven't said whether he's handsome despite the haircut or not (that hasn't been on the POV character's mind). I think he's just average. Average height, too.

    Another leading man is incredibly beautiful, but that hasn't really been a good thing in his life. I need him to look that way for plot reasons. He's not super-tall either.

    The third main guy in my novel is huge and dark and burly and has a face like a thug, so people who don't know him are surprised when he turns out to have a brain (that makes him sound like a cliche :( ).

    They're all dark, but none of them are white, only one is tall, and only one is handsome (except he's really not handsome, he's beautiful; it's an important distinction).

  7. They sound fascinating, Raven. In one novel, most of my characters aren't white, either. However, in the other novel, the entire cast is white. Think London, circa 1810.

  8. You go, Girl! I'm sick of 'tall, dark, and handsome,' which I never liked anyway. I go into the grocery store and look over the Romance book aisle and I swear half the covers have the same model on it. Of course, he's tall, dark, and handsome. I admit he is good-looking, but a girl likes a little variety!


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