Novels are supposed to reveal insights into their characters’ issues.
Usually, these insights come from the character’s thoughts, speech and deeds.
I have run into an interesting exception to this rule, where the two templates for a particular character’s appearance suggest suggest she has an important issue even I hadn’t considered.
Lilith, the President of the Vampires. An attractive “44-year-old” (physical age) in the present time. In my novel’s prologue, set in the 19th Century, she is “31” (physically).
The templates for her appearance are Christina Hendricks for Lilith at ‘age’ 31″ and Julianne Moore for present-day Lilith.
In case you have not compared pictures of the two, Christina Hendricks is of a much more buxom build than Julianne Moore. Hendricks’ body type is in fact historically perfect for the younger Lilith living in the 19th Century, a time when voluptuous, even rubenesque figures were the default ideal for sex appeal.
Then we get to the “44-year-old” Lilith in the present time. Her slim “Julianne Moore” appearance is the modern Hollywood ideal for “sexy”. This would indicate Lilith lost weight to fit in with modern times and body image ideals.
Here’s where the tough issues come in? Is Lilith bulimic or anorexic? Actually, no. She’s a vampire. My (human) vampires can survive on normal food or blood “indefinitely”, with a few limitations. If they subsist on normal food alone, they cannot go “vegetarian” for more than a few days before suffering from malnutrition, as they need to consume blood molecules in some form (which any form of land-animal meat can supply). If they subsist solely on blood, no “bulk” travels through the digestive system. The more abstinence from normal food, the more digestive problems they will have when they do eat normal food. Also, normal food has many nutrients blood lacks, meaning the optimum diet for my living, breathing human vampires is a combination of blood and normal food (since they have functional digestive systems).
The skinny “Hollywood” appearance of modern-day Lilith suggests she has increased her blood-to-normal-food intake ratio past what may be “healthy” for a vampire of her physical age. If this is true, she might get sick if she eats any normal food portions bigger than the decorative pieces found in certain high-end restaurants. 😳
Blood would be one heck of a “no-carb” diet… 😈
And, it just occurred to me that in two different drafts of my novel, at no time is there a scene in which Lilith eats normal food. Odd when most of my other vampire characters had at least one depiction of them eating (a supporting character is even shown to be cooking dinner!). Did I subconsciously intend Lilith to have this issue, a year before her appearance templates were picked?
Such are the mysteries of “Vampire Syndrome.” 😉