What's inside counts for diddly squat
While reviewing the female love interests in all my books, published and unpublished, I realized they all had something in common. They're physically flawed.
Melody's face was disfigured in a childhood fire.
Sage was transgender (she was born male).
Felicia was dying of cancer (and thanks for nothing, John Green).
Charlie was fifty pounds overweight.
Chloe was malnourished, and missing a front tooth.
Like any author, I loved these girls. I think they're beautiful, scars and all. But editors, readers, and people in my writers' group don't seem to see things that way.
"I loved Melody, but couldn't she have plastic surgery or something so she doesn't have to be ugly?" -reader
"I love Charlie! I think she should be the main character, not your whiny male lead. But why does she have to be fat? It doesn't add to the plot. Why not make her beautiful?" -member of my writers' group
So why do people want the girl to be sexy, even when the entire point of the book is that beauty comes from within? Even when my male leads are such dorks, they're lucky to end up with 'flawed' girls like this?
It is escapism? So the guys can fantasize about a perfect girl, and so girls can dream of being perfect?
I dunno. But I did write a beautiful character once. Her name was Katrina and she was gorgeous. And the book was rejected because she was far too bland.