Panties. Just…panties.

22 Jun

As a writer, I like to think I build out my characters carefully, that I flesh them out sufficiently to be sure their actions appear consistent and plausible. I spend a great deal of time on this as part of the entire creative process. I probably take it too far because many of the details I figure out about my characters never make it into the actual book LOL. It’s background, foundation if you like, for the character and their motivations. One aspect of this exercise is a character’s clothing and ‘look’. I really consider economic background, history, occupation, environment, style and personality when I determine the types of clothes a character will wear. Although I might not describe every item they’re wearing, I have a picture of it in my head, including all the accessories. See, I said I may go too far with this! I don’t mention it in the book just for the sake of it. I will include it if it has some significance and it’s usually no more than the reader needs to get an impression of that character and their frame of mind in that instant.

Of course, it’s a bit different when it comes to the love scenes. Okay, I really mean SEX scenes, you know, when said clothing starts to come off :). To be in the moment and ensure the reader is also RIGHT THERE, I like to describe in detail what’s happening and that brings me to…panties. Yes, panties! What kind of panties would my heroine wear? I think a lot about this. A LOT. What style are they, what color, what are they made of? And of course, thong or not? Sometimes (like the book I’m currently finishing up) she’s not wearing any (and there’s a story behind that 🙂 ), but usually they’re removed along the way if she is. I like to describe them, particularly if I’m in the hero’s Point of View (POV). I think it’s something he’d take note of and appreciate, right?

I don’t know how many older romances I’ve read where the heroine has silk and lace panties, regardless of circumstances. Really? She’s hanging at home because she’s been sick in bed and is wearing silk and lace? I guess it happens to be a pet peeve of mind because something like that that’s not set up well can really pull me out of the story. In PLAY ME my heroine had a bit of a panty obsession going, but it was part of her, something that the hero notices and it ties into the end (no spoilers!). In another book I wrote, I have a heroine who wears white cotton and the hero happens to find it very sexy because the women he’s used to are so far removed from that. For me, this is just another way–a very intimate and personal aspect–that as a writer, I can use to provide further layering into character. And I can have some fun with it too!

SO…do YOU notice panties in romance books like I do?

6 Responses to “Panties. Just…panties.”

  1. Cara Bristol June 22, 2011 at 3:16 pm #

    I do pay some attention to the underwear characters wear, but I don’t fixate on it. I have noticed that most heroines seem to wear thongs. I have a hard time believing that that is the undewear of choice for most women on a daily basis. I’m also noticing more boyshorts in romances, now.

    Anyway, I ran across a blog just yesterday, which discussed “what does your underwear say about you.” You might find it interesting.

    • Kaily Hart June 23, 2011 at 7:47 am #

      Hey, Cara!! Very interesting. I wouldn’t say I’m fixated on it particularly, it’s one of many levels of detail I agonize over! See? Don’t tell anyone but I don’t wear anything but thongs. It just goes to show you how as a wrtier you have to be aware of readers and their possible perceptions :).

  2. Marilyn Campbell June 22, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

    Funny blog Kaily! I never made a big deal about underwear until my last book when I sent my heroine back to the 20s – I have to admit to having fun researching exactly what sort of underwear those flappers wore.

  3. Sasha Devlin June 22, 2011 at 8:31 pm #

    I notice …I especially love in a rom/sus how the heroine is running for a life in a thong, and never, not once mentions chaffing or anything like that. I find it highly improbable. I also love when you get a straight laced character whose undies aren’t as spicy as the hero is used to. It’s always great to see how both parties will react.

  4. Lauren Fraser June 22, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

    I notice the heroine’s underwear but I think I notice more if the hero is mentioned and he’s wearing like tightie whities or something and didn’t just finish playing sports. LOL

  5. Kaily Hart June 23, 2011 at 7:50 am #

    Marilyn, yes that calls for a focus on underwear for sure!

    Sasha, yes no-one ever mentions wedgies do they? I wrote a book like that where the hero is used to wealthy, successful, very sexual women who wear the type of underwear you’d expect. Mine likes comfort. I get some great mileage out of that constrast!

    Lauren, yeah let’s not forget the hero – briefs, boxers or commando LOL?

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