Salut and happy Wednesday!
I have a thing for wings—that’s my author tagline, actually. All the paranormal romance books I’m working on feature winged characters: angels, phoenixes, or dragons. Half the books on my shelf are the same.
Using a winged character in a book opens a palette of possibilities. Though I’ve read dozens of books with winged characters, I don’t think I’ve read the same setup twice—even within the angel niche.
I’ve seen tiny wings that flutter. Medium wings. Large wings that trail along the ground. Wings that produce aphrodisiac dust and wings with bulletproof feathers. Okay—that last one was Legion, neither a book nor a romance. Sue me. *grin*
Some wings vanish when the character doesn’t want them seen, others are intangible light, others are bone, muscle, blood, and feathers.
Personally, I like “realistic” wings. I realize the R word is a stretch—this is paranormal romance, after all, and
I believe it’s been proven no wing design could ever possibly allow a human to fly. We’re just too heavy. The muscles required to power the massive wings would make the person look like the blueberry girl in the old Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
That said, I like wings that convince the reader that the character could indeed fly. Give me a character with three-foot wings and I’ll give you my doubt.
In my attempt to create “realistic” wings in my Return to Sanctuary series, I envisioned a set of falcon wings, each one ten-feet long when fully extended. Wings that long, when folded, would brush the ground if the character stood about six and a half feet tall, depending on exactly how the character positioned them. I neglected the Blueberry Girl muscles, however.
I also took into consideration real issues for larger birds. Bald Eagles, for example, have trouble taking off from the ground, so my archangels do, also. Larger birds need adequate airspeed over and under their wings for lift. Some large birds, such as Canadian Geese, have adapted using wings of sizes and dimensions that fit their needs. I gave my archangels falcon-shaped wings for the purpose of speed and agility—a non-aerodynamic humanoid would need every advantage, right?
Wings come with disadvantages, as well, at least for characters who can’t make their wings vanish at will. It’s not all fun and flight. With wings that size, the character can’t sit in a normal chair, walk straight through a normal-sized doorway, or sleep on their backs comfortably. Damaged feathers could mean flight impediment—and they don’t grow back overnight, especially human-sized feathers. I considered the rate of feather growth in birds—which varies, of course—and estimated that an archangel’s flight feathers would take six months to regrow.
I’ll conclude the wing-geek lecture. *grin* How many of you out there love winged characters?