Physical Attribute Entry: CURVY Body Type

Physical description of a character can be difficult to convey—too much will slow the pace or feel 'list-like', while too little will not allow readers to form a clear mental image. If a reader cannot imagine what your character looks like, they may have trouble connecting with them on a personal level, or caring about their plight. 

One way to balance the showing and telling of physical description is to showcase a few details that really help 'tell the story' about who your character is and what they've been through up to this point. Think about what makes them different and interesting. Can a unique feature, clothing choice or way they carry themselves help to hint at their personality? Also, consider how they move their body. Using movement will naturally show a character's physical characteristics, keep the pace flowing and help to convey their emotions.


Descriptors: buxom, voluptuous, curvaceous, sensual, bosomy

People Likely to have an Curvy Build: confident women, celebrities

Famous Examples:
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Angelina Jolie (earlier years)
  • Dolly Parton
  • Beyonce
  • Mariah Carey
  • Eva Longoria
  • Jessica Biel
 Thoughts on Curves: 

With curves, attraction is in the eye of the beholder. For some, they don't consider a woman curvy unless she's got big boobs, a tiny waist and not a scrap of extra meat anywhere else. Others view full-figured women as 'curvy'. The best way to show curves is to show it through the POV character's perspective, honing in on what attracts him or her--be it some boom in the boombox, full cleavage, the hourglass shape, or something else.

Simile Help:       
  • Connie floated across the room toward our table, swaying her hips like a runway model. She might be pushing forty, but the way her yellow dress melted into her curves caused even the prettiest twenty-something to bristle and send a glare her way.            
  • When Allan said we were visiting his grandmother at the senior's home, I figured I'd see geriatrics in wheelchairs, not his totally stacked granny being circled by old guys like she was a cherry red mustang at a car show.
 Clichés to Avoid: curves in all the right places

Twists on the Stereotypical Curvy Build:
  • Curvy women always seem to be beautiful and young. What's wrong with a middle-aged woman having strong bosom to waist to hip proportions? Or give us a woman with a beautiful body but a plain face?
  • Why not make your nasty character have a curvy build? The contrast of outer beauty and inner ugliness brings something new to the table.
  • Women with this body type scream sex symbol. Think of a role that is as unsexy as you get--the creepy or nosy neighbor lady down the block. The curvy plumber or septic tank inspector. The hardass school principal or the boss everyone can't stand. Heck, what about a curvy mother-in-law?


Laura W. said...

Oh, god, the granny example. I'm dying.

I would argue that women with a curvy build aren't necessarily "confident." Some have had the experience of being treated as sex symbols, and feel extremely uncomfortable with it. And with all this recent focus on being thin, other "curvy" women feel that their curves mean they're "fat."

Another idea for an unconventional "curvy" lady might be someone who tries to hide their shape.

Angela Ackerman said...

I guess what I meant by confident is that there is such emphasis on women to be skinny. Therefore, many women who are comfortable with being curvy are confident in how they look and don't fall prey to the "you must be skinny to be beautiful" train of thought. I think there are enough women out there to qualify to put this in the "likely" category, but no, certainly not all curvy women are confident and i wouldn't want to imply that they are. Thanks for weighing in! :)

Rosi said...

Thanks, Angela. There is a lot to think about here. Breaking stereotypes almost always makes for a more interesting read.

healingbywriting said...

Great post, Angela! Being on the full figure side of the coin, I liked what you had to say there: "Others view full-figured women as 'curvy'." :)

Good points made throughout; all very helpful.

Carol Riggs said...

I really enjoyed this post! Loved the examples. Great to encourage we writers to break out of the same old boring stereotypes, too. :)

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

Great post with awesome examples. It's nice to see a discussion on curvy body types as compared to the emphasis on the ulta-thin model types. It seems to me that Marilyn Monroe is still considered a sex symbol, so that speaks volumes.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...