So, on a whim, I put the Soldano/Perron project aside for a minute to return to a previous work; I felt like pecking away on Blood and Steel: Vampire 2.0 – which probably still needs a new name, as that’s honestly kind of atrocious – and so I did. Spewed out a chapter and a half in rather short order, which I was proud of. I learned a bit more about my characters and how they function (relating to my “Because Nanomachines” post a few days ago). If any of you are interested, you can see all the “completed” – I put that in quotes because it’s very much a WIP in prone to change at a moment’s notice – segments over here on Wattpad.
The time has finally come to bring Dracula’s love interest into the tale; one can’t have dear ol’ Drac moping about on his own, after all, so a Mina-substitute has to come up eventually. At least, in my mind one does, especially when one is attempting a semi-comedy on the subject. Enter Monica Harkness (and let’s not forget her pal Lucita.) I’ve already done several of her scenes (including her almost being run over by Vlad’s aide-de-camp, a foul-mouthed New York gargoyle with a penchant for chubby chaser conventions and bright yellow Humvees, her beating up said gargoyle later, and her attempting to teach Vlad how to dance, only to get smacked with his dissertation on gyrations followed by an invitation to a real dance.) But I have a problem.
I can’t describe her.
Mind you, I know just what she looks like. I know how she moves, what her voice sounds like, I know her scent. That probably sounds creepy, but it’s true; I know a lot more about my characters than I ever end up putting on the page, and at least for this story, her scent is important (my main character is, after all, a six hundred year old vampire with superhuman senses and an on-board computer that insists on giving him clinical data about pheromones every time he takes a breath.) But I’m having trouble describing her without it sounding like a laundry list for fetish porn.
See, Monica’s a bigger girl; that’s partially a plot point (the aforementioned gargoyle’s convention addiction is ultimately what leads to Drac meeting her) and partially just how she appeared in my head. The problem is that anything I can think of to point that out sounds either like tokenism or sexualization, and that’s not really what I’m going for. She’s attractive, and sexy, and meant to resonate with both Dracula and my theoretical reader on that level, but she’s also a character, who just happens to be overweight.
Maybe it’s just cultural. 35 years of being told that larger women are “icky” has got to stain your psyche in some way, even if you personally don’t have much of an issue about it or prefer it. But any non-comedic or offensive (IE: Not spoken by Brand) use of the terminology comes off “wrong,” and thus Monica has been left as the great undescribed character. At least physically. We know she’s got on some thigh-high boots (that she hates, that her friend Lucita insisted she wear); that she has blue eyes and black hair with a red streak in it; that her voice goes supersonic when she’s pissed off (such as when she’s beating up gargoyles with purloined purses.) And that’s about it. We can infer her build type from where they encounter each other, but there’s nothing concrete.
It’s really bugging me, and it’s probably a stupid thing to be worried or annoyed about. So I throw myself on the mercy of those potential readers and say: What should I do? Leave it implied and just carry on? Reference it only through Brand the Gargoyle’s off-color remarks? Ignore the connotations and just have at it? Throw her away and give Dracula a new love interest or none at all? Blargh.