I Love My Full Figured Characters As Their Men Do

by Guest Blogger on December 27, 2010 · 7 comments

in Guest Blogger, Plump/Endowed Heroine, S-U

by Corinne Shaw, guest blogger and author of Joe’s Birthday Girl and Alex’s Christmas Wish

Again and again I’m asked “why do you base your stories around heroines who are full figured?” I have only one answer and I have stood by it for years:  Full figured women are real women.  They love and desire just like their physically fit sisters do.  And contrary to popular belief, there are sexy, desirable men out there who adore every ounce of them, and wouldn’t want them any other way.

My name is Corinne Shaw and I’ve dedicated my stories to these beautiful women who live outside the scope of what society considers “normal” or “ideal” and celebrate them for being who and what they are – desirable women.  I began writing with The Wild Rose Press for their Scarlet line in October 2009.

When I was writing my first novel, Joe’s Birthday Girl, I was often questioned about my main character Elena’s voluptuous figure.  Her character didn’t fit what is typically found in romance writing or romantic erotica.  However, in my mind it is what fit.  I am full figured.  I have friends who are full figured, yet these women are just as beautiful, confident, strong, and admirable as any woman strutting around wearing a size six.

The story finished, it came time to search for a publisher and to my surprise and extreme happiness, I found that most erotic romance publishers offered stories with full-figured characters.  My stories had a place, a market, and there were others out there who thought the same way I did.  Then my book was published and it began selling, and those who reviewed it seemed to identify with the characters and loved the story.  I was pleased as any writer could possibly be.  I was published and I’d sold at least one copy.  Dream fulfilled.

Based on the reviews I was asked by my publisher to begin working on a series based on the other characters in the book, which had been my intention if the reception to my novel was positive.  How much better does it get?  Instead of me begging someone to read a story for consideration, I was being asked for one.  Evidently the market for full figured characters was out there.

One day while working on my second book, a Christmas novella entitled Alex’s Christmas Wish, I was sitting in my hairdresser’s chair as she snipped away with her scissors, and told me how much she and her friends absolutely loved Joe’s Birthday Girl.  Then she went on to tell me she lent her copy to a customer who when she returned the book told my hairdresser, “She needs to be thin.”  My hairdresser, Jen, echoed the words that were ringing in my head:  “Why?”  Jen even went on to tell me that the reader of the book who said this was a plus sized woman herself.  The woman’s response was that it just seemed strange to her – it wasn’t what she was used to and that took away from her experience with the story.

It was at that moment that I realized, women who are full figured may not want to read about women like themselves even if they can identify with the character.  Perhaps reading for them is an escape.  Yet others say again and again they love the plus sized feminine angle.  This thought continues to nag in the back of my head as I sit in front of a blank Microsoft Word document, wondering if I should go with the normal formula.

After some thought, I know I’m going to write what I love – and I love my full figured characters, as their men do…just the way they are.  I am writing them mainly for who they are inside: their personalities, their strength, their thoughts and insecurities.  The outer shell is simply to make them identifiable to the reader and to support what some of their vulnerabilities may stem from – each character by the end of the story overcoming those insecurities and finding strength within themselves, usually with the help of a loving, strong, confident man.  And at the end of the day, isn’t that what we all (thin, heavy, short or tall) really want?

Joe’s Birthday Girl is available for purchase online in paperback and electronic book from thewildrosepress.com, Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Alex’s Christmas Wish is available only in electronic format and is available through the same vendors. You can contact the author at corinneshaw@ymail.com or look up Author Corinne Shaw on Facebook.

Buy: Joe’s Birthday Girl, Alex’s Christmas Wish

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Eileen Andrews December 27, 2010 at 7:11 PM

I too find it odd when full figured women dislike full figured heroines. I find it so empowering reading about plus sized women taking charge and relishing attention from gorgeous men. I think a lot of it has to do with plus sized women being trained that they don’t deserve male attention. Maybe we’ll get lucky and things will change someday :)

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2 David Rhodes December 27, 2010 at 8:05 PM

Personally, I happen to like the full figured characters – it almost seems empowering, dangerous, and beautiful at the same time. It is figuratively “in your face”, and I think it adds a wonderfully strong pulse in that character.
But heck….that’s just me..

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3 Lauri Owen December 27, 2010 at 8:45 PM

Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder, and to many, full-figured women :are: beautiful. I write fiction, and my heroine is a full-figured woman. To me, and to many, being full figured doesn’t require caveats such as, “Oh; she is also strong, good, kind . . .” and so on. She is lovely, in part, because of how she looks – on the OUTSIDE – and not in spite of it, and it’s high time we started tossing out media ideals that no one can reach, or should try to. Good fiction is about real people. If I want ideals, I’ll read Plato.

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4 Savannah Chase December 28, 2010 at 11:36 AM

I think when you write a full figured character it makes them more real. There is that factor that makes the character someone you can relate to. No matter what shape a character is, each is special in their own way.

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5 JO V December 28, 2010 at 8:26 PM

Jennifer Crusie’s heroine in Bet Me is full figured and, based on fan comments I’ve seen, it’s may be her most popular book. There’s definitely a market.

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6 Lesleigh Owen December 28, 2010 at 10:00 PM

Hear, hear! Kudos to you for writing about women with whom so many of us can relate. I agree some readers want to escape the weight (pun intended) of their physicalities and identify with svelte romance sheroes; this, IMO, is an unfortunate side-efffect of living in a culture that celebrates and profits from narrow beauty ideals. But as representations of women with larger body sizes widen/increase — both physically and numerically — I think the negative attitudes will slowly adjust.
Thanks for being a part of a cultural movement that celebrates the beauty and possibilities of diverse body types.

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7 Corinne Shaw December 29, 2010 at 2:15 PM

Thank you all for those comments! I’m so glad you all agree and support what I’m working toward. You all have such wonderful input – I may have to steal a few of these nuggets when explaining again why I choose full figured female characters.

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