Tag Archives: heroes

Top 5 Female Action-Heroes (movies)

With Terminator Genisys (2015) coming out soon, my first thought was “why” are we getting another Terminator movie? It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the first two movies, but I am somewhat critical of all timeline story angles. Stories that involve altering timelines are always problematic because of temporal paradoxes.

However, the release of Terminator also reminded me of Sarah Connor. Clearly Sarah Connor is an amazing action-hero, and one of the few really good female action-heroes. Sarah Connor is one of the women I think about whenever I try to create women action-heroes.

So, that got me pondering. Who are the greatest female action-heroes of all time? I tried to limit it to live-action origin, or first visual was in a live-action film. This eliminates cartoons, video games, and comic books. With that said, let me give a nod to Wonder-Woman… without a doubt the greatest fictional female hero of all time. In addition, Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft is perfection. However… the Lara Croft films, which had video game origins, needed better writers and better directors.

Below are my top 5 female action heroes, but feel free to add others in the comments.

5.) Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games trilogy

She came from District 12, a poor coal mining district, and survived the very dangerous and very political Hunger Games… a televised fight to the death.

4.) Trinity, The Matrix trilogy

In a world dominated by machines, Trinity is one of the top soldiers in humanity’s fight against the machines. She is clearly a soldier who shoes little fear in the face of overwhelming odds.

3.) Sarah Connor, The Terminator series

She fought the T100 and the T1000 when the life of her son was put in jeopardy by the time-traveling assassins. Instead of running away, she ran toward the danger to save her son… and to save the future of humanity. Probably the most noble of all the women on this list… and her action sequences were believable.

2.) The Bride, Kill Bill Volume 1 and 2

The Bride is rated higher than Sarah Connor because she did action-scenes, and combat, in a way equal to the greatest male action-heroes. Sarah Connor may have done action that was more believable… but let’s be honest, the greatest male action-heroes do lots of stuff which pushes our ability to suspend disbelief. On this list it is quite a feat to rate higher than an action icon like Sarah Connor.

Jumping, slicing, and fighting her way until she finally finds Bill… The Bride is a powerful action-heroine.

1.) Ellen Ripley, The Alien Series

I base this on Alien and Aliens, the first two movies of the Aliens franchise which were both really good. The acid bleeding aliens killed Ripley’s friends, and the aliens killed the Marines… but Ripley killed the aliens. The thing that separates Ripley and Sarah Connor from the Bride, is that Sarah Connor and Ripley feel iconic… whereas the Bride just doesn’t feel iconic to me.

So that’s my list. The top three were separated by tiny details, and on another day the top three might be in a different order. So what are your thoughts?

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I Love the Moment my Novel comes to Life

I love it when my novel comes to life.  For me, it was last week that the novel I’m writing came to life. But what does that mean? I suppose for different people that statement can mean different things. For me it means the characters and the plot are now vibrant and interesting to me… and of course, the villains are the ones who made it this way, once I crystallized the motivations for their villainy.

Before it came to life my novel had an outline. And I wrote each chapter as I thought it should go. For the first draft I typically write the story in the form of a screenplay. This is so I can write it faster, keep it fresh, and go from one section to another quicker. It allows me to zip through the draft quickly and edit any scene involving a specific character. But… this first draft was only mildly interesting until I got to the chapter that one of my main villains first entered the story. He is so deliciously nasty.

When I wrote this character, and he was “speaking” the lines… the rest of his villainous mayhem suddenly came to life. His motivations made sense to me. The rest of the story, and the plot, made sense to me. This normally happens in the first draft of any novel I finish. For novels I do not finish, typically I get to the end of the first draft and wonder why I wrote it. Sometimes I return to a second draft, and sometimes I do not. But if I finish a novel, typically something happens in the first draft to bring it to life. When the novel comes to life it’s like adding chocolate to milk… it’s like adding jalapenos to chili… it’s like adding rum to coke.

For this particular novel it was a villain which caused my novel to explode into a dynamic rainbow of awesomeness. Normally when I come up with an ending, that’s the moment when the novel comes to life for me. Because the ending can tie the rest of the novel together. But so can a good villain.

So what about you? When you write… when does the novel come alive during the writing process? Is it in the first draft? After several drafts? When a particular character seems real?

What is your favorite part about writing a novel?

I remember when I was a child reading Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. I loved the art, and I loved the flow of the writing. The words themselves were artistic in the way they were spun together.

Now that I’m grown up… writing science fiction, fantasy, and romantic comedies are all genres of writing I enjoy. In addition, I recently expanded my writing to contemporary dramatic works. A current example is an adaption of one of William Shakespeare’s plays that I’m turning into a modern novel. I’m not sure if I am making it a Nobel worthy work, or causing William to turn in his grave… but it is fun and challenging. Writing a novel that gets published is one of the goals on my Bucket List!

One of my favorite parts is creating character backgrounds. Especially the villains. A good antagonist can make the price of the book worth it. A good antagonist makes the movie ten times better. In comic books, many times a great antagonist is 100 times more interesting than the superhero! I suppose the same can be true about soap operas. Do I have a favorite villain? No. Probably just a villain with a motivation I can understand. Not motivation that I find inspiring… but something that I understand. I think that is my issue with disaster movies… because the villain is an earthquake, a Sharknado, an asteroid, or some other environmental threat. The special effects are normally good in disaster movies, but the drama… not always good.

Do heroes even really need to be that interesting or dynamic? Maybe they can be interesting. But I think the protagonist can normally get away with being somewhat normal (and relatable), and that protagonist reacts to all the challenges the villain throws at her/him.

Another favorite part of writing for me also involves the characters. I generally have a loose outline of where the story should go, but then I develop the characters… and I let the characters dictate where the story goes. To be honest this has been good and bad for me. Sometimes the characters take the story into impossible corners which turns the plot into a trainwreck. Thank heavens for the massive storage space in today’s modern computers and flash drives! Every story I write has multiple versions, incase I decide a trainwreck I created in Draft 3.0 now might be useful in Draft 9.7.

However… sometimes the characters I create are beautiful story tellers… and they take the story in a wonderful, unexpected direction. For example, I have written two endings for my current novel… and I’ll go with the ending which fits best in the finished novel. Mainly, it just depends on which ending makes the most sense for the characters. I know the outline, and where the story is going… but either ending could make sense at this point. And of course, by the time I am finished with the story… there could be a third ending which I haven’t thought of… an ending the characters have not revealed to me yet.

So what about you? When you write… what are your favorite parts of the writing process?