Johnny Deep vs Matthew McConaughey
Jennifer Garner vs Reese Witherspoon
When I critique and come across the word handsome as a beginning description I comment, "Your hero looks like Danny Devito?" And in most cases he doesn't. Handsome, sexy, beautiful, and cute are all generic terms that bring different images to our mind - and no, Danny Devito isn't my definition of handsome. Now, after the character has been described it's fine to use one of these adjectives but before that the reader craves an image.
One comment I receive over and over when questioning the 'handsome' hero - what if my reader doesn't think the character I describe is sexy? I'm not sure if this is a valid thought. Personally, I've never read a description of a hero or heroine and thought, gee he/she is ugly there is no way I can read this book!
But, I have become frustrated when an author has refused to give me a good idea of what a character looks like. Not just the hero or heroine, but important secondary characters. Now unless the mailman is going to play a major part in some scene or throughout the book, I don't need a full description of him, otherwise tell me.
The same with a setting-- don't just tell me the heroine had spent the afternoon making the bedroom an ideal oasis for their first love making. Show me it through descriptions, let me feel the romance, smell the fragrances, and tingle with the same eagerness as the heroine. As I said earlier this week, an author can create a romantic setting just about anywhere so….do it!
Another aspect of sexy that I believe many authors overlook are gestures. The simple kind. Not boxes of candy, or vases of flowers, but doing the dishes or waiting at the bus stop in the rain with an umbrella to walk her home. I mean what woman wouldn't think a guy standing in a downpour waiting to walk her home wasn't sexy?
As with all things I've talked about this week, sexy is as the author makes it. But what are some of the things that contributed to the sexiest scenes you've read? A setting? The hero or heroine? A gesture?