Saturday, March 10, 2012

Saturday on Red-Headed Step-Children

Or: KT hates this expression.

First of all, you guys have heard that expression, right? I got googled it while I was writing this post and got a fascinating Snopes post. Check it out.

That has very little to do with this post, though. Mostly I was thinking about this post and this one and this one.

The 25 list cracks me up. I’m guilty of number 12 very badly, number 10 because I think it’s hot, number 6 and 7 a bit because I tend to do them*, number 5 because it took me forever to teach myself how to DO that and it’s awesome and should be in my books, and number 2, none of my books have, I think, but my best friend actually does have red hair.

My MC in one of my books does have red hair. Her natural hair is about a strawberry blonde, light red (she calls it orange), which is natural for her. Her brother has red hair too, but she makes the colour brighter because fire-engine red hair is hard to come by in nature.

But what I actually wanted to talk about were characters who are different physically that the average book cover, especially YA books. There is a current trend in YA books of covers with pretty girls in pretty dresses. And there’s nothing wrong with that (some of my favourites are girls in pretty dresses covers), but part of me really wants more characters that aren’t a size two on covers.

There are a few things that I think there aren’t always enough of in YA (anyone else want to take that one?) but this is a big one for me because it’s personal to me. (That and short characters. I love short characters.) But I know when I was younger, characters who were larger were almost impossible to find in YA books. And if they were, they were largely athletic or something, which I DEFINITELY was not.

(Two more articles I find interesting, here and here which is about romance, but still interesting.)

One of my own main characters is about a size 10, with boobs and hips and thighs. She doesn’t talk about her weight much, other than the occasional worry about whether or not a third piece of pizza is the best idea, and once when she’s preparing for a date. (Which I don’t feel is unrealistic.) She’s an average size. (Wikipedia says the average American woman is a size 14. Some plus size models are size 10 or 12. How scary is it that a size 10 is a “plus” size compared to a “regular” model?)

My second MC is way skinny but she’s depressed so she doesn’t count because that has caused her to lose weight. Plus I have no idea what her size is. I just know that she’s skinny because she’s sick.

My third MC (from SMN) is plus sized. She’s a size 16 and she’s neurotic about it so I do know her size. (If you’re wondering, it’s generally accepted that a US size 14 and up is plus-sized.) She’s curvy and I think she’s the prettiest of my characters, although she’d disagree. She’s also smart, brave, funny, and just generally pretty awesome and, much like a real human being, I think her size is not the most important thing about her.

One of the reasons this character was inspired was that I’d read a lot of books and seen a lot of movies where female characters are only considered pretty or desirable when they lose weight. (Monica on Friends, anyone?) I wanted books where a girl didn’t need to be skinny to be pretty. (And there are those out there! Check out the links I just... linked. But by then I had this PERSON in my head…)

Mind you, I don’t know if any of these books will ever be published. I don’t know if they’ll ever have covers. But of all of them, I think SMN is the one I’d want most to be out in the world and I really, really hope that Lennie ends up on the cover of that one.

Okay! At some point this post stopped being funny and I lost my train of thought! So here’s a picture of a baby giraffe to lighten things up!

Talk to me in the comments about what you’d like to see in the books you read. Anything goes. (For the record, I also want more baseball picture books. Baseball, llamas, giraffes, and smart, strong princesses. But that, as they say, is another story.)

Peace and cookies,

*Speaking of, anyone want to lend me a nervous trait or two? :P