So basically this post came inspired from Cait at Paper Fury’s post Do You Even Like Character Descriptions? I seriously connect to that post on a spiritual level. Anyway, while listing the cons of character descriptions, Cait mentions unrealistic descriptions. Which is why I’m bringing in these common looks that we find in YA literature. Because I’m pretty sure I’ve read about 12,345 books with characters that unnaturally look like this.
1. The mysterious, blue-eyed, dark-haired stranger that you just can’t help but want to know more about.
The other day, I read about a boy with “blue, blue eyes.” What color were his eyes? OH I DUNNO, MAYBE BLUE? Seriously, what kind of description is that? He may be the prince to a lost kingdom! He may be the star quarterback of the football team! He may be the cute drama nerd that is so much than he seems! Either way, no one can deny his chiseled looks, or five-o-clock shadow.
Even though he ranges from fifteen to nineteen. I mean, most of the sixteen/seventeen-year-olds in my classes have pimples and all, but that’s a no-can-do for a love interest. They must have perfect skin and a body that reminds you of a statue. Maybe even cheekbones that can cut diamonds or something. The messy hair that we see in adolescent boys are “tousled” and you just want to “push [your] hands in them.” Make sure you know he shampoos, though. (How else would he have such naturally wavy hair?)
2. The boy-next-door with blonde hair and the cutest dimples! All the girls want him, but since you’re the main character he only has eyes for you.
How does he get those raging 6-packs despite being only seventeen? WHO KNOWS. Protein powder seems to be popular these days. No one can deny him anything. With one look at his either baby-blue or flecked green eyes, all else in the world disappears. Maybe he’s a British foreign exchange student! Or he may possibly be a Southern transfer that has a sweet drawl, with those “dahlin’s” getting you EVERY time. Or he may also be the sociopathic brother that ends up in juvie after going down the dark path of becoming an arsonist. Who cares though? He still looks gorgeous.
3. She has deep, blue eyes the color of the Cerulean sea. Her natural flaxen hair and lithe body makes all the guys want her. I present to you, your main character.
Why is it always the Cerulean sea? I mean, I know it’s a pretty color. But I’m not even sure WHERE it is! What about the Pacific or Atlantic Ocean? Does the Cerulean sea even exist? (Update: I looked it up, and Cerulean sea bath salts exist. I can only assume the body of water is real.) Anyway, she may appear as the best friend. She may be the jealous rival of the main character. Orrr, she may turn out to have superpowers that make her stand out, especially when she enters a whole program of superheroes that fight to save the world. Who knows.
4. Her numerous freckles and glossy NATURAL red hair makes her stand out from the rest.
Did you know 2-6% of the population in the US has red hair? Okay so because of that, she’s already special. And THEN she finds out that the destiny of an alternate universe is in her hands to save. Or that she’s the next princess-in-line from a family of royalty. Or the drama lead at school who’s sooo great at singing and performing onstage. Oh, her hair/freckles could also symbolize how “fiery” her character is! Because that’s totally how it works.
5. She’s not pretty at all – or so that’s what she thinks. Within three pages of a makeover, this main character (who still says she’s not pretty) becomes a drop-dead supermodel.
Why is brown hair sometimes described as “mousy”? AREN’T MICE USUALLY GRAY. This girl is usually overlooked in the beginning. No one knows about her – except for the guy! – until she discovers it’s her destiny to save the world and get rid of the monsters that plague it through her special powers. BUT FIRST – WE GOTTA GET A MAKEOVER. Because those are every girl’s dreams, aren’t they? I admit, the cliche is sometimes cute to read about (albeit uber cheesy), but it’s like a 180-degree change!
Real *claps* life *claps* isn’t *claps* like *claps* that. How many characters are “unrecognizable” in the mirror after getting their makeover? Also why does everyone in YA books have to be a supermodel? Like seriously, this girl will be crossing the desert or traveling across the country while running from an assassin while still attracting all the guys. I like reading about nice-looking characters, for sure, but sometimes it’s cool to see ones that are unique and different – flawful.
Interesting how they all are caucasian, aren’t they? Those are some very, very popular descriptions that are featured in literature and at this point I roll my eyes when I read about the same looks over and over and OVER again. Let’s see some diversity! Who else is done with blue, blue eyes and chiseled abs? I want a book that has REALISTIC expectations of characters. One where the character embraces their body image, all those flaws and idiosyncrasies that make them who they are. Or if not, they actually DO things to become the best that they can be. Because as fun as it is, being mysterious, dark, and alluring ain’t gonna make those six-packs, hun.
Images Source: Pinterest
What are some popular descriptions that you encounter? What are some character-types that you’d LIKE to see in your books? How many books can you name with characters with blue, blue eyes? Don’t you agree we need some better descriptions for these things?