Freelance writer Dale Mayer lives in the beautiful Okanagan valley in British Columbia, Canada. She’s multi-pubbed in nonfiction but her true love is the stories that weave through her mind. For the past nine years, she’s written around the daily responsibilities of being a single mother of four and still squeezes in time to produce new fiction manuscripts each year.
In fiction, she writes taut psychological suspense with romance and paranormal elements. She has recently branched out into both mystery and urban fantasy books for young adult with the occasional vampire book thrown in just for fun. Dale was recently named as a finalist in Brava’s Writing with the Stars Contest.
She’s prolific with her nonfiction work as well. Check out her website page for more information.
When it comes to action heroes – I’m all about action heroines.
Who wouldn’t want the moves of Lara Croft from Tomb Raider or the unforgettable Ripley in the Alien series? How about icons like Sarah Connor in the Terminators or Selene from Underworld? These action women span two types. The first are like Selene and Lara Croft, where the women have been trained to fight, where the action is an integral part of the character’s normal behaviour. Then there are the other type like Ripley and Sarah Connor. These women were happy in their everyday lives until circumstances forced them to stand and fight for their lives. Their action scenes develop and change over the duration of the movie because they had no fighting skills to start with.
The first group of women are ones readers and viewers want to be like. It triggers our wish fulfillment to be something other than we are. The second group of women are ones we identify with because these women were normal – like us. We don’t necessarily want to go through what they’ve been through, but we want to be the ones that triumph through our own adversity – like they have.
When writing books with action scenes, you need the reader to identify in some way with the character in order to take the reader on the journey throughout the book. Once they are willing to suspend belief and follow you – you’ve got them hooked. To do this the character’s actions have to fit the character. They can learn to be action heroes throughout the book, but they can’t start that way if it doesn’t fit the character.
That’s up to you the writer, to do. Start the character with the skill level they have and make the action scenes believable. Hook the reader with the conflict then lead them all the way to the end by growing your characters. Lara Croft is an obvious kick ass kind of action hero and she never lets you down from the start of the movie to the end. She still doesn’t get everything she goes after – in fact after one amazing fight scene; she actually loses as the invaders steal what they came for. But by the end of the movie, she’s there and there’s no give in her – she fights to the end – and of course wins.
How important is that win at the end? It depends on the character arc. The character has to win – at something important. But that win can also mean they walk away. It’s all about the character – even for action heroes.
Who are your favorite action heroines?