Brace yourselves–I have an actual topic today!

As we might have mentioned, Amanda and I are presenting a workshop at this summer’s Beau Monde Conference entitled, Keeping It Real: Making Your Historical Characters Come Alive. Here’s the brief description:

Just because you’re writing in a distant time period doesn’t mean your characters should be distant to your readers. Join award-winning historical authors Amanda McCabe and Megan Frampton as they discuss how to make your characters come alive through dialogue, attitudes, description and actions, while still remaining true to the period.

Amanda and I will be working on the outline/presentation in upcoming months, and when I saw this article, I realized there were some aspects of ‘keeping it real’ I hadn’t thought of:

Hollywood’s Changing Face of Beauty
From Greta Garbo to Kate Hudson, How Beauty Has Changed in America

The article says that while classic beauties were popular before, quirkier, more “accessible” beauty is what Americans find attractive.

Which, of course, led me to consider what readers find attractive in heroines. If you’re Of A Certain Reading Age, you likely read a lot of those ’80s romances where the heroine was beyond gorgeous: Perfect hair, perfect skin, perfect teeth (!–we are reading about English people, remember). The thing that usually wasn’t perfect about them was how they didn’t know they were perfect. Or something lame and punting like that.

Now our heroines have flaws, flaws that make them more real: Their hair is too curly, their hips are too big, their mouths are too wide, their eyes are just plain brown, they are too short or too tall, or whatever. We, as readers, want to read about women who are like us, not perfect goddesses on pedestals.

What do you think our changing attitudes about beauty reveal about us? Do you find Angelina, the Jessicas, Jennifer, Megan F(ox)–not me!, Halle, et al stunning? What do you like about those old romances in terms of their heroines’ descriptions? What do you like about current heroines’ looks?

Thanks for your comments!