Sunday, August 17, 2014

Writing Kick-Ass Female Characters

I hesitate to say "strong female characters" because I hear that term is becoming taboo. I guess the new sin is that women in action adventure stories are depicted ONLY as "strong", which is in itself a sexist caricature. So the phrase has become a cliche among feminists.

Sigh. We can't win.

Thankfully, this doesn't stop me from writing them. Though it does make the task more interesting. Because up to a point, the criticism is valid. There are examples of two-dimensional female characters out there who either appear to be the SFC, but turn out to be wimpy, neurotic damsels in waiting.

Then there's the other kind. The ones who are Strong... and... And Strong... and stuff.

Not mine.

Don't believe me? Go check out my new Pro Se Press Single Shot, Codename Orchid for your Kindle (also available from from Smashwords). Costs just a buck, and you can read it in about the time it'd take you to watch a movie, which fits the cinematic experience I go for.

What's it about, you ask? First we meet Orchid, a rogue spy without a country, breaking into an enemy camp in Afghanistan. Through flashbacks we meet Regina Cross. She isn't quite living the American dream yet, but she's getting there. Her life was finally starting to look normal. Until she's attacked by a Russian assassin, rescued by a man she's never met, and learns that she's a deprogrammed sleeper agent.

It's received two 5-star reviews so far, both of which made references to the JJ Abrams show Alias. Because, well yeah. I wear my inspirations on my sleeve.

If you've visited this blog before, you know that I have always been a fan of the SFC archetype. And I love that there are so many of them making it into mainstream entertainment lately.

I list among my top favorite characters in books and comics names like April Rose (Mack Bolan novels), Catti-Brie, Mara Jade, Natasha Romanoff, Barbara Gordon, Helena Bertinelli, Karrin Murphy, Rachel Morgan, Mercy Thompson...

And Wonder Woman. On that note, allow me a quick tangent.

WTF is wrong with you Zack Snyder?

I will admit that on one level, I love this costume design. It's as good of  a modern interpretation of Amazon armor as I think you can get. The depiction of Diana as a "warrior princess" dates back to the 80's at least, (yes, before Xena and before Kingdom Come) so it fits. And Gal Gadot looks awesome in it.

But why are you so afraid of color? Why is everything you create so joyless? It's bad enough that you willfully ignored the entire point of what Superman is supposed to be. Now you are hellbent on destroying the most iconic female character in comics.

What is wrong with THIS??

Dear readers, and hopefully future fans, if you need to know one thing about my stories is that they are fun. Even my eventually-to-be-published violent crime drama/revenge story/crime thriller has healthy doses of real-world humor thrown in.

I simply do not see the world in such dark hues of black and gray and brown as those who have infested the creative mindset of DCE. The last thing we need in this dreary world is even more doom and gloom in what is meant to be escapist entertainment.

I mean, I'm one of the few crazy people who actually liked Sucker Punch, but come ON. I thought that your much improved ending to Watchman was a sign that your creative vision wasn't as bleak and cynical as the Nolans and Goyers of the world. I'm sorry I was wrong. Lighten the fuck up, Snyder. Please.


I have more adventures planned for Orchid, but they won't happen without your support. If you like to read more legitimately strong female characters with depth and humanity, if you enjoy fast paced action adventure of the spy genre, then this could be the start of your new favorite series.

Buy it for a dollar at Amazon and Smashwords.

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