Looking for Mr. Goodbod

I had breakfast with a dear friend this week. She asked about what I was working on these days, and I confessed to having 3 under construction: the BIG one, the short one, and the steamy gag one. The BIG one is my main priority. Most of the research is done, I’m about 2/3 of the way written, and it’s been macheted twice. The short one is a labor of love; I love these characters who have been patiently waiting for me to come back to them. And the steamy gag one started as a suggested assignment …write in the first person, two characters, no filter… from one of my editors who thought I needed to break through my own self-imposed constraints. Like all good steamy romance novels, there are 4 brothers, ergo there are supposed to be four books. The first is done, I’m in the middle of the second, and I actually have notes on three and four. I work on this only when my brains are exploding from the other two…mostly the big one.

The truth is that not having a stinky day-job any more means I’m writing more which means I’m spending more time with people whose sole purpose is to make me crazy…my characters. Anyway, my friend wanted to know about the short one, and as I recited the bones of the story, she got really excited. “I love this!” she gushed. “Tell me, what does Boaz look like?”

Whoa. There’s a very good question. I kinda know a little, but I have yet to find a face for Boaz.

Photo by Anush Gorak on Pexels.com

 I will be the first to tell you I know pretty much what the characters in THE POMEGRANATE look like. In truth, I’m not casting the imaginary movie; I need to see faces move with expression. I need eyes, eyebrows and dimples. Cheeks, necks, shoulders and arms with hands. Bodies are really important, too. Khalil is tall and slim but hard-bodied, whereas Gilbert is tall, but bigger, broader, and shredded. You swing that mace around a few times. Think of the difference between an Olympic swimmer and an NFL lineman: both are finely tuned athletes, but the physiques are vastly different.   

In my mind’s eye, Batsheva does look a whole lot like Shira Haas. Avraham Aviv Alush is unequivocally Khalil material, and Gilbert is a Hemsworth brother (pick a Hemsworth, any Hemsworth) but if he spoke better English, a Turkish actor named Can Yaman is physically perfect for Gilbert, but lacks the sapphire blue eyes (one cannot have everything, y’know.) When I wrote DREAM DANCER, Natalie Portman was my face for Leah, Jimmy Smits for Tan, and the late, great Raul Julia for Hector.  If any of the above mentioned actors discovered one of the books and wanted to make a movie outta it, I’m all for it. (In my dreams!) 

Since I can’t just put random pictures from the net in here, Google or search Instagram for any of those names to see what they look like. You won’t be disappointed.

The new books all take place in the 21st century, so I’m also looking at websites for hot guys in suits along with shirtless hotties. And the really sad part is that it all becomes so clinical. I’m not scrolling through images going “Hubba-hubba!” I’m going “nah, nah, meh, ugh, mebbe, hmmmm, okay that might work, definitely not…..” ad nauseum.

Not David Gandy; random hot guy in a suit.

Anyone ever hear of a British guy named David Gandy? Neither had I until today. I found him this afternoon in a Harper’s Bazaar article on hot guys in suits and suddenly, I was looking at Boaz (picture 20.) It was just that fast. He’s age appropriate (42) for the character, he’s fit but not shredded (there are lots of shirtless pictures of him on Instagram) and he’s got some great facial expressions. He’s a model, maybe not the sharpest spoon in the drawer (he dropped out of university to be a model) and he doesn’t seem to have many interests besides his significant other (a solicitor) and their kids. Whatever. He could be hawking bibles at Speaker’s Corner and I wouldn’t care. He looks like what I kinda imagined Boaz would look like. Until I see someone better, he’ll do the trick.

As a writer, my imagination only goes so far. I’ve seen those impossibly sexy, steamy romance covers. They never do it for me. I need a real face. A real body. And just to be fair, this is not a matter of making a carbon copy of a famous person; it’s about having an image in my mind as I write. And if there are lots of photos or video clips? Even better. I get to see how they move. Back in the day, before Ziggy had the poor form to make me a widow, he used to happily let me pose him like a Gumby figure. Or like Simon Says:

What if you do this? What if your arm went there? What if you did that? Touch your elbow to your nose.

Ha! I didn’t say What if!

That always got a laugh. All joking aside, I do miss having his body to manipulate. (Mind outta the gutter, please!) I don’t think there’s a fiction writer on the planet who hasn’t said at least once, Is that physically possible? It really bugs me when reading a description of a physical action (usually sex) you know that unless those people trained with Cirque du Soleil normal people can’t do that. And I am equally certain lots of readers have thought pretty much the same thing.

I can write all the battle scenes, sex scenes, cooking scenes, sports scenes I want, but unless I’m running my movie in my head and writing what I see, I don’t believe my readers can see it either. Like watching DIY videos, sometimes, you just have to watch someone else do it.

And I really do try to keep my own mind outta the gutter. Not.

Published by SJSchwaidelson@The Author Is In

New York born and bred, living in Minnesota, I am a widow, mother, grandmother, and writer. These are the things I do well.

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