Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Characters Can Make Or Break A Story

by JC Lynne

Holiday season is movie season. Media advertising leads us to believe it’s true. I know in the past, parents hauled the cabin fevered, wound up kids on Xmas break to the moving pictures to get out of the house. As a television kid, the holiday break meant hours of being warmed by the glow of the cathode ray tubes.

Television also became an event. Three channels assured any holiday specials became part of the shared, cultural conscious. Does anyone remember Bermuda Depths? Mysterious girl, giant, monstrous turtle, and terrible special effects. Blog posts are devoted to this movie.

With the teenagers absent, the blessed silence settled over my fevered, heavy chest. I tucked under blankets to troll the Prime Instant and Netflix instant catalogs. Limited disposable funds leads me to exercise extreme prejudice when purchasing shows. I’m offended by the melodramatic drivel being touted as good television. My irritation is amplified by the cancelation of any show I find witty, interesting, and engaging. Firefly, Life, Lie To Me, Longmire….the list is long. If it’s challenging, intelligent, and thoughtful, it will die.

I did purchase the first two of the Santa Clause movies. Running out of options, I hit upon Ragnarok. If you’re interested in Nordic culture, you know about Ragnarok, if you’ve seen Thor, you know Marvel’s version.

We loved The Troll Hunter. It’s hilarious. Completely in a Norwegian dialect with subtitles, but worth every minute. I thought I’d give this new one a shot. Spoiler alert: it’s pretty much a loose interpretation of Jurassic Park III adjusted for Nordic mythology, BUT it’s not bad. I enjoyed it. A big factor in my delight was the lead actress Sofia Helin.

Multiple aspects of her presence in the movie charmed. She’s gorgeous in a real, not artificial or freakish way. Adding to her stunning appearance is an observable scar running from above her lip vertically to her chin. I’ve decided I love Norwegians. One more thing, her character kicks ass. Not in a Crouching Tiger way, in a bold, strong, and determined way. She’s not helpless. She doesn’t trip and she only screams for the others to open a locked door. In fact, she saves the bumbling archeologists on several occasions. It’s worth the rehashed plot for that alone.

As an action/thriller/techno-thriller writer who is also a woman, I’ll tell you, authentic voice is important. I’d like to think ‘writing like a man’ is something we’re above, however when readers comment my action scenes seem written by a man, I’m genuinely flattered. More than flattered, downright satisfied with my application of craft. The other tricky part of writing in any genre is to create real women. Often women in these kinds of stories are caricatures and stereotypes. 

 Okay, so the bumbling archeologists in Ragnarok were caricatures, but Sofia Helin’s character wasn’t. I hope all of my characters are as real to my readers as they are to me. In the meantime, hit Ragnarok on Netflix for a fun B movie.

Do you have any fun movies or shows you watch?

1 comment:

Patricia Stoltey said...

Hi JC -- glad to see you're now a Writing Bug contributor! I've overdosed on movies over the holiday season, and Melissa McCarthy's "Tammy" was my favorite. Pure crazy slapstick comedy. I loved it.

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