So You Want To Have An Attractive Character?

Whether you're trying to write a lead for a bodice-ripper or roleplay a sexy Cassanova, here are some pointers and advice to make your characters more appealing and more shippable to others.

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It's not all about the looks.

Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes people make is trying to have their characters" attractiveness ride on their looks. Many character intros will describe someone who is (at least, in the author"s mind) the very pinnacle of physical beauty or sex appeal, and expect readers or players to find their character desirable. But thing is, physical appearance ain"t all that. Edward Cullen was supposed to be the most gorgeous thing that ever brooded on two legs, but a lot of people simply found him weird and creepy rather than attractive.

There are many other important factors in attractiveness that people overlook - particularly, personality and the way the character behaves. Here are some non-physical factors that can affect someone's attractiveness and sex appeal:

Does this character look like the kind of person you could have a good time with? Some indicators of this might be...

Does this character look like someone who would support the other person in fulfilling xir dreams and goals?

Does this character look like the kind of person who could see to xir physical and emotional needs? For example...

On the other hand, there are indicators of stormy weather ahead that might put someone off no matter how physically attractive xe was:

Be careful you're not trying too hard to make your character look attractive.

Trying too hard to make a character look attractive is almost always a put-off. Signs you might be trying too hard include...

Does this mean your character can't have, say, purple eyes? Well, no - your character potentially can. But ask yourself why you're giving your character purple eyes. Are you doing it primarily because purple eyes say or hint toward something important about your character (IE, something that's going to relate to the plot), or are you doing it primarily to make people see your character as attractive? If it's the second, you're trying too hard. Likewise, if your character is always stylishly dressed, the character should have a personal reason for it. You can't just have a character who "doesn't care about appearances," yet is always dressed to the nines and/or always has perfect hair and makeup.

Don't tell the audience what to do or think.

Looks are subjective - different people find different looks more attractive than others. It"s pretty annoying to have someone describe a character in precise detail and then be told that their character is unequivocally beautiful, cute, handsome, or whatever. How ‘bout just describe the character, and let the other players or the audience decide for themselves whether or not the character has these qualities? Alternatively, give a less-precise description and say that the character is pleasant to look at, or attractive by conventional standards, or whatever seems most appropriate, and let the other party fill in the blanks themselves.

(Also, telling people that their roleplaying characters find yours attractive, cute, or sexy is a form of powerplaying, a roleplaying faux pas.)

Don't act desperate or entitled.

Desperation or a sense of entitlement is a huge attraction-killer, both in real life and from the point of fiction. If you constantly point out that your character is attractive and/or act like everyone and/or their characters should find your character sexy, people are going to catch on and be put off. (And the less likeable a character"s personality is, the more irritating it gets being told how gorgeous and graceful the character is.)

The same goes for characters who try to beg, plead, barter, or argue others into getting into relationships with them. This is desperate behavior, plain and simple, and it's very unappealing - if not just plain creepy. (Tip: if someone has to ask "what can I do to make you like me?", it's already a lost cause and it's time to give up. There's nothing to be done besides leaving the other person alone and moving on.)

Another act of entitlement that's totally creepy is making vows that affect the other person - EG, "I will make you love me!" or "You will be mine!" Beauty & The Beast's Gaston didn't say "She will be my wife, make no mistake!" because he was supposed to be a good guy!

One of the ultimate acts of entitlement is showing clear disregard for other people's feelings. For example, "I don't care if you think what I'm doing is creepy - I just want you to love me!" or "I know I'm being selfish here by asking you to leave your partner, but I want to have you so much! I need you so much!" It's totally creepy, and it's exactly what you say if you want the object of your affections to wish you'd just ship yourself off to Antarctica and never come back.

And remember: In RP land, nobody owes you a ship. This is more meta advice than actual character advice, but if you go into a roleplay acting like people owe you a ship, other players may recognize that you"re likely to be the roleplaying equivalent of Overly Attached Girlfriend and avoid you and/or your character accordingly.

And on this track, if it becomes obvious that you are playing a self-insertion and that you are looking for an ego-boost or personal wish-fulfillment fantasy via an RP ship, savvy players will avoid shipping with you, as doing so can lead to an incredibly unhealthy situation for you and them. (Playing like this can mess with your head and the head of those who ship with you in very bad ways as real emotions become attached to and tangled up in fictional scenarios.)

If you liked this, you might also be interested in:

Are Your Characters In Love Or Just Infatuated?
What Romantic Chemistry Looks Like
Basic Tips To Write Healthy Relationships
How To Avoid Creating Shallow Love Interests & Shallow Best Friends
Tips to Write & Roleplay Believable Successful Long-Term Relationships
Tips To Avoid Killing Your RP Character's Conversations

Things To Avoid When Writing Romance Novels
Plot Punter - Romance Edition
Couple Development Questions
Notes & Musings On Writing Cute Characters
Describing Your Character: Tips & Advice
Why "Purity" Is An Overrated Character Trait

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