Tuesday, 11 September 2018

6 Female Characters in Action You Should Be Writing


The reason why I am such a HUGE Marvel fan has a lot to do with how inclusive their films are, especially their portrayal of female characters getting involved in the action such as Scarlett Witch, Okoye and Black Widow. 


As a writer or filmmaker, it's crucial we are able to portray all genders, minorities, ethnicities in order to accurately portray the world we live in.  Finally, there are no longer just two categories of which we can determine the female characters - the sexy man-eater or innocent damsel. 

BORING!

With this in mind, I've rounded up 6 examples from TV and Film - of the kind of women YOU should be writing about. 

They're brave, fearless and ready to knock your socks off!

1) NEVER MESS WITH GRANNY

Example: The Vuvalini

Characteristics: 
  • The matriarch of a badass 'family'
  • Strongest maternal instinct 
  • Her desire to protect is stronger than that of a 'mama bear' trope. Don't mess!
  • A retired badass
This granny is not the kind you help cross the road! 

She is a tough, skilled fighter and ultimately - the strongest source of maternal instinct. Anything that threatens her or her loved ones means there's only one option - to eradicate the threat. 

The Vuvalini in Mad Max:Fury Road is a perfect example of the strength of such women. Banded together the audience is reminded that when it comes to protecting your family/tribe/brood/community -  NOTHING will stand in their way. 

2) ALPHA BITCH
Example: The Waif 


Characteristics:
  • A bully and aggressive
  • A sadistic force set on achieving their mission/goal whatever the cost
  • Superior (at first) in every way to their opponent until the opponent learns these skills

Now, stereotypically we would see the Alpha Bitch trope as the popular high school cheerleader hellbent on making every other student's life a misery. 

Well, this is where you can take that and turn it on it's head to make it far more interesting - just like The Waif from Game of Thrones!

The setting is clearly very different - however the character's motivation is not that different.

The Waif is the equivalent of the intimidating high school bully -  considering Arya 'other', a threat, and because of this is depicted as Arya's ultimate rival.  

3) THE BIG GOOD:

Example: Imperator Furiosa

Characteristics:
  • The strongest opposing force against the threat
  • Normally of high rank or considered the most powerful in their community/group
  • The most valuable member of the heroic team

The Big Good is a character trope considered the most powerful opposing force against The Big Bad.
Think Optimus Prime against Megatron, and in this example, Furiosa against Immortan Joe. 

Furiosa is the most central character in causing a rebellion against Immortan Joe, by stealing his wives in order to keep them safe at  The Green Place.  Not only does she protect the wives at all costs but she is also capable of making the hardest choices - seen when she allows Max to drive on after seeing one of the wives Splendid be killed. 

Personally, she is one my top favourite characters of all time because she completely embodies - both physically and literally - the ultimate warrior in refusing to accept any kind of limitation that tries to stop her. 

4) BAD POWERS, GOOD PEOPLE:

Example: Scarlet Witch

Characteristics:
  • Capable of causing serious harm AND being a powerful protector
  • A flawed character but fundamentally a hero character
  • Must learn to harness their power

Scarlet Witch is considered one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel cinematic universe - we have seen first hand in Age of Ultron how she was capable of causing harm and destruction AND she took on Thanos while destroying the Mind Stone. 

Personally, I think taking on the bad guy, destroying a mystical power stone AND being forced to kill your boyfriend for the greater good sorta makes her the most powerful badass gal ever...

However, although her powers can cause devastation she has the ability to control it for the power of good. This trope is obviously, usually a flawed but fundamentally kind character. Much like The Hulk, Scarlet Witch must learn to harness her powers or else face serious consequences because of her own actions. 

Consider your own characters, what about them could cause tension amongst their relationships with others throughout the story? A character flaw that could be both a positive and a negative makes for some interesting conflict. 


5) More Deadly Than The Male

Example: Nora Longshadow


Characteristics:

  • Cunning, ruthless and bloodthirsty
  • Underestimated and uses this as their advantage
  • Threaten anything she loves - family/partner/child and she will become a deadly threat.

Nola Longshadow is a fantastic example of this trope because she embodies the seemingly endless capacity for lethal revenge. 

This character trope is nearly always underestimated by others, which means the payoff is huge when it's finally revealed they are the most deadly amongst them. By tapping into their fiercely loyal and protective nature, anybody who threatens them directly most likely won't survive. 

This character trope comes in many forms because they do not consider anybody else of a bigger/stronger physicality to be a threat. Literally nothing intimidates them. 

Use this as an open invitation to create unique and unexpected characters. HOW and WHY are they so dangerous? What drives their narrative? What are the consequences if they lose?

 Consider all of this!


6) I Did What I Had To Do

Example: Okoye


Characteristics: 
  • A dedicated and fearless warrior in the pursuit of fighting evil
  • Nothing matters more than championing the right cause - including personal and romantic relationships. 
  • Although they do not have special powers, their strength of character, nobility and loyalty more than makes up for it. 

Okoye has no superhero powers what so ever, yet she has proved many times to be an equal to the Avengers. 

She is able to call the hard decisions and devote herself to whatever is 'the right thing' to do without personal opinions clouding her judgment. She's always at the front of any battle defending her people and home against the threat. 

This also means that absolutely NOTHING gets in the way of that. Including her loved ones - ie. W'Kabi asks if she would kill him? She answers that for Wakanda - without question. 

That's some serious sass and devotion - and unlike others mentioned on this list who consider their loyalties to their family, it's interesting to note Okoye ONLY devotes herself to 'the right' cause/choice/path. 

With your own characters, you could explore the theme of devotion and how far are they prepared to go and at what cost. It doesn't matter where your action is set, if it's rooted in real characters and emotion then the audience WILL believe their journey. 



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