Friday, April 25, 2008

The Action Heroine's Handbook

The Action Heroine's Handbook by Jennifer Worick and Joe Borgenicht

From the back cover:

"For every woman who wants to be as tough as Lara Croft, as nimble as the Bionic Woman, and as babe-a-licious as Charlie's Angels, The Action Heroine's Handbook shows you the essential skills you'll need to conquer the bad guys and save the day without breaking a sweat.

"Find out how real action heroines do it, directly from a host of experts, including stuntwomen, jujitsu instructors, helicopter pilots, detectives, forensic psychologists, survivalists, primatologists, and many others."

Do you write romances or mysteries or urban fantasy with kick-ass heroines? (Yes, we're all tired of that phrase, but it is an understood keyword for a certain type of female protagonist.) If you do, then you need this book as part of your research library. Where else can you find instructions on how to go undercover as a prostitute in a brothel, recognize the undead, profile a serial killer, be a Mob wife, choke a man with your bare thighs, fake your own death, and outrun a fireball? Really, step by step instructions on this and much more.

The book sections are:
~ Tough Chick Skills (including How to Win a High-Speed Chase in High Heels and a Bustier)
~ Beauty Skills (like How to Seduce the Enemy)
~ Brain Skills (How to Investigate Your Spouse/Lover)
~ Brawn Skills (How to Subdue Your Opponent With a Whip)
~ Escape Skills (How to Escape When Kidnapped)

The appendices list what your girl should be carrying in her purse and how she should style her hair.

So if you've got an "action heroine" in your book, this handy-dandy reference can help you make your story a lot more plausible and realistic.


Sarahlynn said...

Gasp! Not available from Amazon. Or stocked in my local bookstore. Very good sell, though.

Julia Weston said...

I love this. My husband told me just last night that one of my fight scenes isn't convincing enough. That's probably because I don't know how to swordfight. Right now my heroine is tapping her foot and arching her eyebrow at me. I'll go get the book.

Thanks for the tip.

Liana Brooks said...

I love the sound of this book! I'll add it to my shopping list,

Lisa Whitefern said...

I found it on New Zealand's version of ebay for $5!

Rachel Aaron said...

"So if you've got an "action heroine" in your book, this handy-dandy reference can help you make your story a lot more plausible and realistic."

Ok, so here's a book that lists "Investigate your spouse/lover" as the primary draw besides BRAIN SKILLS and advertises looking good in high heels and a busty top as the most important part of a chase scene. In what world would this make your heroine more realistic?

I mean, escape skills for when you get kidnapped? Because, you know, women in action movies only exist to get kidnapped. And the seduction tips? I’m not saying you shouldn’t use all the tools available to you, but surely not all enemies need to be taken down in the bedroom before our kick-ass heroine can take them down in the field. What’s even worse, this whole thing just plays up to the terrible idea that being pretty is somehow a prerequisite for being good at anything as a woman. Even if the heroine is in full Kevlar and chopping demons with a sword, god forbid she do it in anything less than high heels and a perfect hairdo.

I understand this book is a tongue in cheek, and the Action Hero's handbook makes just as many stupid claims (like how to kill people without staining your tux), but to hold it up to authors and say "here you go, make your heroines more like this" just makes my blood boil.

As a reader and a woman, the last thing I want is to be handed old man Hollywood’s fantasy of a heroine where they gave her a gun, crossed out "playboy bunny" and wrote in "strong woman” on her name tag and then called it a day. I want characters in the novels I read, not caricatures. And if she is kicking ass while wearing a bustier and firing her akimbo pistols while kicking goons in the face with her stilettos, it had better be for a damn cool reason, and not just because she’s an action heroine or, you know, a “strong” woman.

“Plausible and realistic”… Seriously, what decade is this?

Charlene Leatherman said...

Women can get themselves in trouble anywhere, while doing anything. Just because the woman is a strong woman doesn't mean she wears boots, overalls and the lot when she is having a romantic interlude with her lover. More than likely she is wearing a bustier and extremely high heels, if her lover is like most men.

As far as killing a man without staining your tux (or evening gown), if you are at a party you really can't return from your "mission" with blood splattered all over your clothes. It tends to alert the bad guys, let alone the authorities.

I for one am getting the book. Any information that is helpful in building a real character in a real setting (as in, did you know that if you slit someone's throat, the blood does not ooze out it sprays. Hence the necessity of knowing how to keep your clothes clean) is a good book to have.

JacquƩline Roth said...

Great book suggestion. This may just save my marriage. Because after the last "Can you straddle a man's lap, kiss him passionately while removing a wooden peg from your barrett to shove through his heart because he's a vampire," experiment I was told never again.

Tarot By Arwen said...

Thanks for this book tip. Sounds like it will have some useful information in it. I am currently taking a workshop from a bomb expert that is fascinating. That combined with this book are really putting me in the mood to work on a Bombshell story I had in the works before Bombshell went KABLOOEY.

Rowan West said...

Well, this is definitely going on the wish list. What a great source for creating, building, and deepening characters.

Thanks for the suggestion!!

- Rowan West

Judith Rochelle said...

Whether it's for real or tongue in cheek, I gotta have this book. Gotta, gotta, gotta.

Julie Weathers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julie Weathers said...

My heroine is a klutz and pretty ordinary, so I'm going to pass. However, I have a decent knowledge of horses, gutting things, etc, so that helps.