As I hit the home stretch in this manuscript and my brain loses the ability to tell time, I keep missing my regular yoga class and ending up in a more intense one.
It’s one of those classes – the kind where the instructor has to stop frequently to mop sweat off the floor, and I have to stop frequently to see if she’s kidding when she suggests I stand on one leg and put an ankle behind my head.
But there’s a key advantage to this class – it draws a lot of men.
A lot of shirtless men.
A lot of shirtless men with toned bodies who – if I’m very lucky – might park their yoga mat in front of mine and provide enough visual stimulation to distract me from the fact that I’m contorting myself into positions a Barbie doll couldn’t manage without removing a limb.
I was pleased to have one of these shirtless specimens in front of me yesterday, and I’ve gotta say – I’d never miss another class if someone could assure me he’d always be there.
Since he showed up late when we were all face down contemplating our spleen chakras, I didn’t see his face. All I could see for the entire hour of class was that dark, rumpled hair, those muscular legs, that broad expanse of naked back.
I silently thanked the instructor every time she ordered us into crescent lunge because I got to watch those shoulders flex.
I said some additional silent thank yous I couldn’t see his face.
I know that might seem odd, but it’s something I consider each time I write a love interest in one of my novels.
One reason I love reading so much more than movies or television is that I get to use my imagination to decide what people look like. I usually get a starting point like hair and eye color, but it’s up to me to fill in the blanks.
And I do love filling in those blanks.
It’s something I’m aware of in my own writing as well. How much physical description should I provide about my characters? How much should I leave to the imagination?
I’ll admit I’ve straddled the fence on this. The hero in LET IT BREATHE – the third book in my contract – has brown hair and eyes, with broad shoulders, great hands, and a mysterious tattoo.
Beyond that, I’m not providing a ton of detail.
This differs from the second book in my contract – BELIEVE IT OR NOT – in which the hero bears a strong resemblance to John Cusack.
Which do you prefer as a reader? As a writer? Do you like knowing exactly what a character looks like, or do you prefer having it left to the imagination?
Please share in the comments.
Oh, in case you’re wondering, I did see hot yoga guy’s face at the end of class. I was disappointed. Not that he was unattractive – that wasn’t the case at all – but just because he looked nothing like what I’d imagined.
He’s still welcome to park his yoga mat in front of me anytime. I’ll even save the spot.