1. Anaïs Rose
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    Anaïs Rose Member

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    Ugly girls loving themselves; how not to mess it up

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Anaïs Rose, Aug 14, 2016.

    okay so after some scouring, I haven't really found a thread that can help with what I need. I'm a female writer writing a novel about races being held in fictionalized Australia, my main character is male, and my second MC is female. Her name is Ivanka, and after five years of racing, she finds herself disfigured and not as beautiful as she used to be.
    I want Ivanka to start coming into her own sense of self, and start loving herself, but this happens to coincide with meeting my male protagonist. How can I write this so it doesn't come off as my male character being the one to her a sense of purpose? Like the trope in movies where the depressed person doesn't start to heal until they fall in love? or the ugly girl getting a makeover and the popular boy telling her she looks pretty, and suddenly her life is better?
     
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  2. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    As long as she keeps racing with the confidence she had before, and carries herself knowing that there are more important things than just being another pretty face. I think she will be fine. Coming to grips with the unfortunate and being the same person as she was pre-disfigurement.

    My MC suffered severe burns over most of his body, and wears a gas mask to keep others from staring. He is just as much a wrecking ball, that still functions. He attracts another MC (who we will say is an Alien for all intents) by treating her as an equal, and with respect. Though the relationship is an odd one, that is why she is attracted to him. Because she got beneath the surface, and saw a man and not just an overcooked piece of flesh. Though to be honest he is a well seasoned soldier that was burnt by an incendiary.

    But I think it would make sense for your MC to see them as they are, and physical imperfections not so much. No makeover is going to fix everything back to the way it was.

    Here is a video of a woman that you might find helpful to understanding your MC's dilemma.

     
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  3. Seraph751
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    Seraph751 If I fell down the rabbit hole...

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    A change of perspective as well. For her wounds while once viewed as something that takes away from herself, if she views them a sign of survival, or badges of honor as a more formal way of recognition. As a parent for me, from having had twins I have scars upon scars. It took me a while to learn to love myself again. I went from having a gorgeous scar free body to a scarred up body. Now, I love my scars. They are a sign of my kids being alive and what I had to go through to help make that happen. Perspective is a powerful thing. If you just start by one noticing because of [whatever caused the scarring] I can [something positive], small details work fantastically and give the reader an in to how your character thinks about what happened and will also give you a leg up on delving even further into how she feels about her scars. Not to mention, this also shows the start of learning to love oneself or to accept what one perceives as flaws.
     
  4. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think the racing will probably be the key. If she's been an elite racer (are these running races? Driving? presumably something that involves a lot of skill and exertion...) then she's probably developed the ability to see her body as a tool rather than a decoration. (I work with teens and we rarely see serious body-image issues in the girls who play team sports but see loads of issues in the sports with a subjective appearance component (gymnastics, figure skating, etc.)). So as long as she can still run after the disfigurement, I think you can use that as her salvation.

    Not to say she wouldn't be upset by her disfigurement. But you can have the male lead help indirectly, by encouraging her to get back in the race and keep working, rather than helping directly by telling her it's okay, she's still pretty inside or whatever other crap.

    It might be helpful to trace the character arc if it were an elite male athlete who was disfigured and sort out how you'd handle his recovery, and then transfer a lot of those ideas to a female character. (Not saying that societal pressures on women don't affect the way a female character would respond to something like this. But I'd love to read a book where they didn't!)
     
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  5. Anaïs Rose
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    Anaïs Rose Member

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    I love what you have to say on the subject! And these are driving races, she's very talented but she has a crappy female manager who keeps her in the shadows because she's not beautiful anymore. So it's like her self worth and the races go hand in hand. She used to be known for her beauty and people called her the Russian Princess in the magazines and basically her looks were as much of her identity as her skill (unfortunately), but since she suffered scars and burns (like Cave Troll's character) from racing without a mask (her manager made her race without it so she could be easily recognized), her manager wants her to stop being the princess and rebrand her as something she can cover up with face paint or masks. So it's like because her beauty is gone, so is her skill (or at least her public persona). And I want to help her get that back. Struggling with low self esteem myself, it'll be a challenge to help her through something I can't say I have a handle on myself.
     
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  6. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Well after reading your newest development. @Anaïs Rose I am starting to get a bit of a Death Race 2000 vibe, and by that the driver known as Frankenstein comes to the front of my thoughts. By that she could wear a mask to cover her face as she adopts a new persona that becomes her celebrity status. Though without all the running people over as she races across the countryside thing. It is kinda like a "new face, new person", kinda angle maybe. :) (Also she could hide the burns, so only a select few know who she really is. Gives off a mysterious kinda vibe.) :)
    FrankensteinDeathRace2000.jpg
     
  7. Anaïs Rose
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    Anaïs Rose Member

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    dude totally! or maybe her scarred face could become her new persona... i mean, next year her contract with her current manager runs out, so she can do whatever she wants as far as marketing her appearance goes.. anything's possible.
     
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  8. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Scars build character and tell a story. That and scars are sexy, as they show strength and will to rise above. :)
     

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