Straight-leg jeans aren’t a trend, they’re a staple.
I recently ran this magazine quote by my husband, lamenting the fact that I have yet to find straight-leg jeans that flatter me.
His response? “The minute they say something’s a staple, a new must-have item will come out.”
He’s right–I’ve already seen a baby bell-bottom backlash.
What does my obsession with French chic and the perfect pair of straight-legs have to do with writing? you may ask.
The point is that for me, straight-leg jeans will not ever be a staple. I might not ever look as French as I’d like to (though I can rock a scarf, people!). And sometimes, just sometimes, we do the same things to our characters, trying to fit them into molds where they don’t fit.
This often happens mid-book, when you find one of your secondary characters has become far more important than you thought, and you cannot get him/her to quiet down. Or when you figure out that your MC is going to mess up, royally, and you hadn’t even planned that twist yet.
We have to let our characters breathe.
I know that sounds like some kind of writerly mumbo-jumbo. But you can plot and plan and get all your ducks in a row, and then realize that your character is totally irritating in some way. Or perhaps unrealistic, and thus boring, in his/her perfection. That’s when we need to step in and make that character real!
The coolest thing about humans is that beauty comes in so many shapes and sizes. So do characters. Embrace that slightly psychotic character; find the truth in his sputtered words. Or make us feel sorry for that perfectionist who has to make everything just-so. Have your MC fall for someone whose teeth aren’t gleaming white and professionally straightened.
And keep wearing those boot-cut jeans, if you aren’t a straight-leg kinda gal.