Loch Awe in spring - Photo courtesy of Neil Donald Photography






Sunday, 3 November 2013

HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO FOR YOUR HERO, LADIES?

Now, now...calm down. This isn't what you think! I'm not talking sex on the first date/in the first week/after three months when he's proved he's keen here. So bear with....:) If, like me, you're only 5' 2" in your stockinged feet I think it helps to know what it would be like for your romantic hero to be tall. Okay, so that might be a stereotype with a tall hero, but you don't read about heroines lusting after 5' 4" heroes who wear socks with their Jesus sandals, do you? Nothing wrong with either there, I hasten to add, because I'm sure your 5' 4" sock-wearing hero could be a very, very nice man. But most romantic heroes are tall, and I think it is especially important to have an idea of this, at least, if your 6' 4" hero doesn't have a point of view in your novel. Does he have to bend his knees to an uncomfortable position to see in your heroine's bathroom mirror? Does he have to be Houdini to get under her shower head? Does he have to stoop to get under doorways in your fictional house/gym/mansion/yacht? Could he see over the fence into next door's garden while standing at the kitchen sink, and if so what he could see that the heroine can't? And then there's the issue of shoes - what is it like to wear size thirteens? Do they fit on a stair tread the way your heroine's would, or would placing them make him walk downstairs in an ungainly manner? Hmmm...but knowing all this can bring authenticity to your writing. Liam Neeson (of Schindler's List fame)is 6' 4". David Hasselhoff, who got many a heart fluttering on Baywatch, is 6' 5". A quick trawl of 'tall actors' on Google and you'll find many that are 6' 8" and counting. Blimey.....what a crick in their necks they would get kissing shorter actresses - or actors....whatever floats their boats.
So, a little role play can be brought into force. A stool-step helps here. I have one my late father-in-law made for my children to access the top bunk easily. It is fourteen inches high - perfect for my needs. I wanted to know what it was like bending down to kiss the top of someone's head - a fave romantic action, that! Does the hair smell of shampoo, or traffic smells, or day's old cooking? All of those things, if you want to know, and it also tickles your lips like crazy - well, it did mine. Does a very tall man reach straight out for a door handle, or does he have to hold his arm down? Ditto shaking hands. And have you ever tried doing up shirt buttons the man's way? Not easy...I was all fumble-fingered.
I know someone who had a peripheral, male, character in a wheelchair, so she hired one for a day and got her husband to push her everywhere to see how it felt. She hated it because it made her feel invisible - people spoke to her husband and ignored her so she had to change the character in her story from being gentle and at one with his lot, to someone who was actually quite angry inside and it changed the story for the better. Which brings me neatly to my hero in GRAND DESIGNS, out now on Amazon Kindle.....for this one I actually went to the south of France, and I arranged a real, live, meeting with a baronet....shame he was already married!

28 comments:

  1. Oh Linda, you had me in stitches! We do tend to conveniently ignore the less attractive aspects of being human in our writing, don't we? The nasty little habits people have and all those body functions. And the 'duvet lifters' after that romantic meal...

    Looking forward to reading GRAND DESIGNS!

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    1. Well, yes.....I think you all got the drift - some things are best left private but our characters do have to be 'real' if that's not a contradiction in terms! Thanks for popping by, Jenny, glad I gave you a laugh...:)

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  2. Thank you for the image of Liam Neeson, Linda. One of my favourite actors - he has such presence. And look at you, meeting a baronet in France - how glamorous is that! I shall look forward to reading Grand Designs.

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    1. I thought Liam might cheer someone's Monday so I'm glad it was yours, Margaret. Ah yes, the baronet....I know how to live by association...:)

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  3. Great post, Linda - I'm only 5' 2" and husband is 6ft, so a bit of a difference there! Congrats on new book.

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    1. Thanks, Rosemary. My husband's nephews are all well over six feet tall - 6' 9" one of them - and they always give me a hug when we meet and invariably they will say, 'How small are you really, Auntie Lin?' I bet you feel protected though, don't you!

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  4. Loved the post Linda - and I loved Grand Designs too :)
    I'm 5 3" and my husband is a foot taller! My tall friends always tell me they hate me for stealing away a tall man!

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    1. Ooooh, so pleased you love Grand Designs....and I'm getting lots of very nice comments about the cover...:) But then, I knew I would!

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  5. Great post, Linda. I loved the image of you standing on your stool to kiss the top of someone's head! I think I'll ensure future heroines are at least five foot six and easily matched to the hero!
    Get you meeting a baronet in France!

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    1. I always make my heroines a lot taller than I am....:) Actually, Mary, it was a bit of an eye opener seeing the world from a foot up to how I normally see it. Tall people must get back ache doing the dishes is all I can say!

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    2. DH - 6 foot 2 so not as tall as others mentioned here - certainly complains about the height of the sink!

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    3. Buy the man a dishwasher, Mary....tee hee...:) He can kneel down to load it!

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  6. Great post, Linda. I'm married to a 6'3" man and I remember standing on the bottom stair to kiss him goodbye in 'the early days'. He bends his knees these days :-)

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    1. Lovely to see you here, Laura - many thanks for popping by. Keepoiling your 6' 3" man's knees .....:)

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  7. My husband's 6' 6" so this post totally hit home! Our engagement photos were taken with him crouching slightly and me standing on a couple of phone books!
    Angela Britnell

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    1. Well, you're winning for tallest husband so far, Angela! I ought to have thought of making this a prize post for the tallest hero!

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  8. Great blog, Linda. But am I the only woman married to a short man? Hurrah for men under 6 feet tall (bless 'em).

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    1. My husband is 5' 10" if that makes you feel better, Melanie? Thanks for popping by...:)

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  9. Very thought-provoking, Linda. I hadn't considered a few of the points you raised - so thank you :)

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    1. Well, I'm pleased I've introduced you to something new....but that's the thing about writing, we learn something for our craft every day...:)

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  10. Great post Linda. Makes me think maybe I don't go far enough?

    And as for marrying tall men. For years I was absolutely convinced I was taller than my husband. Well, I felt taller! But he insists otherwise and sadly I have to admit that mirrors/photos seem to indicate he is right.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the post, Gill. Keep standing tall!

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  11. What a great post Linda, your research made me laugh out loud and made me think a little more about the physical characteristics of my characters. I rather appreciated the picture of a very young Liam Neeson.

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  12. Actually, reading between the lines, it's Liam you've all fallen for...:) But I was dead serious about my research ...:) I think to say someone ducks to come in the door means the reader sees him doing that....yes? Thanks for popping by, Jules.

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  13. A lot of food for thought here, Linda and a lot of detail I had not consciously considered before. Must try harder. I love the stool!.

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    1. Good to see you pop up here, Gwen.....I love the stool, too...:)

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  14. That is thought-provoking. I've said before that I think I'm quite a lazy writer and your post just confirms it. I tend just to assume that things will work - many of them probably won't.

    I remember reading that Agatha Christie used to get letters from readers pointing out errors - for example, the Orient Express didn't stop exactly when and where she said it did! But I've never been one to let the facts get in the way of a plot twist!

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    1. Good comments, Jennifer. I wasn't trying to be pedantic about accuracy ....just trying to suggest ways we can make our fictional heroes more 'real' ...:) Thanks for popping by.

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