It is oh so lovely to be back at the WWK after a few weeks of being off and busy with my new baby. Thanks so much to Kait Carson for filling in—I really hope you enjoyed Kait’s posts as much as I did.
What have I been up to? Well, as any new mother will tell you, there’s a lot of time spent sitting around. My baby girl (as well as my son a few years ago) absolutely loves to strand me on the couch.
And I don’t mind, because baby snuggles are the best, even if I haven’t moved in three hours because I’m terrified of waking up the wee one. Though, honestly, because this is my second baby, I’m a little less terrified and more apt to get up/eat/shower/be a normal human being than I was with my first one.
That said, when I am on the couch, enjoying baby snuggles, my iPhone has been my very best friend. I didn’t have one with Baby No. 1, and I tell you, it’s done wonders in that I A. Don’t feel as alone (Thank you, text messages!) and B. Can catch up with what’s going on in the world.
Thus, while on the couch the other day, I read my friend Sarah Smarsh’s fabulous “Aeon” magazine piece about having poor teeth in rich America: http://aeon.co/magazine/health/the-shame-of-poor-teeth-in-a-rich-world/
You need to read the article because it’s fantastic, but, basically, Sarah does a fine job breaking down what imperfect teeth mean in our view of a person and how dental insurance and basic dental care often divide the classes in our country.
And, when we’re talking characters—in books, TV and the movies—most often if a character has bad teeth, he/she is a villain.
And it’s true.
Think about it.
Charlize Theron’s serial killer in “Monster.” The crazy Bible beater on “Orange is the New Black.” Any meth addict you’ve ever met in an episode of “CSI.”
In fact, the only character I can think of who was a hero and had purposely bad teeth is Austin Powers. But even then his teeth were awful mainly as an ongoing joke about the British and their famously horrible chompers.
When mulling this over as a writer, I can’t help but think about how in both books I’ve read and in my own writing, a love interest almost always has an amazing smile.
I’m not sure I’ve ever done this on purpose—in my mind’s eye, I just happen to see this handsome character with handsome teeth to match.
I didn’t realize I was saying something about his socio-economic class, but I suppose I was. My guys all have dental insurance and grew up flossing, whether I planned that or not.
What are subtle ways we define a character when we describe how he or she looks? Have you ever used a character's teeth as a tell?