I was chatting with a good friend of mine the other day and she sent me some pictures in an email of a gorgeous male model as a suggestion for a future Wake-Me-Up Wednesday feature. I, or course, anxiously viewed the photos and I noticed the man had a considerable sized birthmark on his bicep.
Now while this does nothing to lower the appeal I have of him, I was surprised he had not removed it given his choice of career—a male model. I mean in this day and age, the idea and pursuit for the perfect human body has drastically increased over the years, and often times, people go to extremes to achieve it.
Now before I dig myself into a hole, let me make myself clear that I in no way, shape, or form, think this man (or anyone else for that matter) should have birthmarks, scars, or any other permanent blemishes removed. In fact, I loved the mark on the male model. It gave him character, depth, and when I looked past all the beautiful muscle and skin, my mind automatically thought he was the bigger man for not removing it—especially given the career he was in.
So, by now I’m sure you are all saying, “What is Renee’s point?”
Glad you asked.
|Gerard Butler as Erik in Phantom|
of the Opera
I, as a writer and a romance fan, love to read about the flawed hero—the hero who is either scarred emotionally or physically, and feels they are forever haunted by their imperfections. There are many famous ones: Claude Frollo from Hunchback of Notre Dame, Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights, Edmond Dantes from The Count of Monte Cristo, and of course, my favorite, Erik from Phantom of the Opera.
But I also have a flawed hero in my historical, Ræliksen. At the time, when I was writing it, I realized my Norse warrior hero, Dægan, was too perfect. He needed something to make him more “human”. And so I dabbled a bit in tarnishing his perfect facade.
In the story, Dægan Ræliksen has a large unsightly scar upon his right bicep, which he acquired long before the heroine, Mara, comes to know him. But later, I wrote in that he gains another wound, on his inner thigh, as he battles to save her. This scar, while it doesn’t necessarily haunt Dægan, is the one that convinces the reader he is indeed a mortal being with limits, and it also becomes the very thing to which Mara differentiates him from his twin brother.
But still, that was not enough for me.
|Ræliksen: Book One|
of the Emerald Isle Trilogy
Another “flaw” I gave to Dægan is that he kills a man—a man who is supposed to be a loyal follower but becomes a turncoat character—and this is the blemish which tortures Dægan the most because his vengeance gives him nothing but the desire to do it all over again. He cannot help but feel he is a wretched man and unworthy of Mara at this point, though she never fears him thereafter. In truth, she tries to comfort him as he deals with the betrayal and pain of it all.
That being said, I felt closer to Dægan than I ever have the moment I wrote his imperfections in. And I think many of us are that way. We sympathize with the tortured hero and, as nurturers, we want to console, heal, and mend their tormented soul to the best of our abilities. We can even look at scars, blemishes, and imperfections as items of interest when it comes to sex appeal—case and point, the male model with the noticeable birthmark.
So, what is your preference? Would you rather read about the ideal man who is almost godlike in appearance with flawless skin and perfect features, and never does anything wrong? Or would you prefer the hero who might have a troubled past, a slight scar on his muscled body, and/or a crooked tooth in his cute little smile? If so, who's your favorite tortured / flawed hero?
Visit Renee Vincent at http://www.reneevincent.com/
Ræliksen is available in both print and ebook formats at