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 Post subject: Guy Saves the Girl
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 12:12 am 
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Okay, the part where the hero saves the heroine is a very common part in fiction, ranging from medieval epics to fantasy to the pulps to space opera to thrillers.

What do you think of this? I know some are kind of corny, where the heroines can't do anything for themselves.

But there's also the opposite, like in the movie Act of Valor where the woman is a captured CIA agent who gets rescued by SEALs. That's entirely different than, say, the first three Barsoom books where Dejah Thoris does almost nothing but get captured and rescued, or the maidens in the Arthurian legends. I'm fairly sure there's something similar in the Conan the Barbarian stories as well.

How do you approach this in your own writing?

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 Post subject: Re: Guy Saves the Girl
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 12:33 am 
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You moved this thread over here! Good for you. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Guy Saves the Girl
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 12:37 am 
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*will post what she posted on Sci-Fi when others post a bit *

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 Post subject: Re: Guy Saves the Girl
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 1:04 am 
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I'd say you should try to make all your characters as they should be, and then go with that. If the character is someone who probably wouldn't do much other than be captured, then that could happen, but then you probably should have that character develop into someone who learns to actually do something as the story goes on. Actually, that might be an interesting twist on the whole 'damsel in distress' thing. Have a girl who is, in fact, largely useless at the beginning, but through everything that happens, become useful, and perhaps even save the day. Of course, it's probably been done before, just like everything else... :P

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 Post subject: Re: Guy Saves the Girl
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 3:00 am 
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My characters are themselves. They aren't specifically heroes, they aren't specifically drama fodder, they act as they will and the consequences are according to that. I have characters that are rescued, some of them are female, but in the end all people need rescuing so I think it's more a defining factor of humanity than on gender or another.

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 Post subject: Re: Guy Saves the Girl
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 12:00 pm 
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I agree that this can be overdone. The typical stereotype of the "damsel in distress" can quickly become annoying to readers.

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 Post subject: Re: Guy Saves the Girl
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 3:47 pm 
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I think if the lady's personality doesn't allow her to help herself out of her situation, say she's a spoiled noblewoman that never had to look out for herself, she might feel helpless, which would make her, in effect, helpless.

On the other hand, there are those that think that people that write a story with a guy always saving the girl means the author believes females are helpless and need a hero in order to survive...which is ridiculous.

So what I would do is, like others are saying, write them the way they are, and you'll probably have a more capable female character that can and does help her own situation...I hope that helps.


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 Post subject: Re: Guy Saves the Girl
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 9:03 pm 
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Quick observation: I think it isn't actually the guy saving the girl that annoys people, but other stereotypes surrounding around it (such as the girl being a flat character who can't tie her own shoes, the guy being a flawless, testosterone-fueled Gary Sue, the two marrying/whatever afterward, etc.).

I haven't watched Act of Valor, but from what you say, it not only has a girl who is highly trained and definitely can take care of herself, but it breaks the "guy saves girl" trope by making it "guys save girl."

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 Post subject: Re: Guy Saves the Girl
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 9:34 pm 
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*finds it fascinating how very different the exact same question is answered on Fantasy vrs Sci-Fi... *

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Be careful of your thoughts; guard your mind, for your thoughts become words. Be guarded when you speak, for your words turn into action. Watch what you do, for your actions will become habits. Be wary of your habits, for they become your character. Pray over your character; strive to mold it to the image of Christ, because your character will shape your destiny.

Ideas can germinate from the smallest seeds. Collect those seeds, and let them grow in the back of your mind. You may be surprised by what finally blooms.

When God takes something from your grasp, he's not punishing you. Instead, He’s opening your hands to receive something better. The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.

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 Post subject: Re: Guy Saves the Girl
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 9:56 pm 
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Thread link?

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 Post subject: Re: Guy Saves the Girl
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 10:26 pm 
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Sure. Here you go.

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Be careful of your thoughts; guard your mind, for your thoughts become words. Be guarded when you speak, for your words turn into action. Watch what you do, for your actions will become habits. Be wary of your habits, for they become your character. Pray over your character; strive to mold it to the image of Christ, because your character will shape your destiny.

Ideas can germinate from the smallest seeds. Collect those seeds, and let them grow in the back of your mind. You may be surprised by what finally blooms.

When God takes something from your grasp, he's not punishing you. Instead, He’s opening your hands to receive something better. The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.

Works in progress:

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 Post subject: Re: Guy Saves the Girl
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 10:55 pm 
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Ooh, this is a wonderful example of the first responses aiming the direction of the rest of the thread. :D Often, the original poster comes with an idea or concept. The first couple of replies can focus in on a specific aspect of that idea or concept, or uses a certain lens to narrow the field down. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, it just makes for an interesting study when you have two threads with two directions.

On fantasy the first post actually engaging is discussion was about staying true to your characters. The discussion continued character-focused.

On sci-fi the first post mentioned the Biblical role of protection in a man and our culture's perversion of this. The second was a ditto. The discussion now revolves around the roles of the sexes and the definition and balance of weakness and strength in fiction.

Both directions are highly relevant and important to the topic. Oh, I wish I could keep up with both forums at once and see more of these cross-post threads develop side by side! :rofl:

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 Post subject: Re: Guy Saves the Girl
PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:30 am 
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*chuckles * Yes. I have been having fun with the Sci-Fi sister thread. :D

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The Rainbow in the Storm- My Blog

Be careful of your thoughts; guard your mind, for your thoughts become words. Be guarded when you speak, for your words turn into action. Watch what you do, for your actions will become habits. Be wary of your habits, for they become your character. Pray over your character; strive to mold it to the image of Christ, because your character will shape your destiny.

Ideas can germinate from the smallest seeds. Collect those seeds, and let them grow in the back of your mind. You may be surprised by what finally blooms.

When God takes something from your grasp, he's not punishing you. Instead, He’s opening your hands to receive something better. The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.

Works in progress:

The Diegosian Mark, 115,600 words (Preparing for Publication)
The Diegosian Rider, 121,400 words (Finished)
The Diegosian Warrior, 15,000 (In Progress)


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 Post subject: Re: Guy Saves the Girl
PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:30 am 
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This is interesting....

I hate how most women in today's superhero movies are nearly helpless and the hero almost always saves them.

Although, if you do think about what YOU would do in the same situation... It would be natural that you would be panicking at first. Fear has a big hold on people, especially if it is fear of something that is real and not fictional.

I think it would be cool if there was a mentor beside the 'wimpy' character if they found out they were important (like King Arthur for example. He wasn't always very wise or very strong) and then instructing them to grow stronger as troubles arise. It reminds me how God never puts more before us than we can handle. Everything he tells us to do is something that can be done (with his help).

I don't have any problem with a guy saving a girl in books or movies. But some of the time, there isn't much character tension or awkwardness(like a guy carrying a girl when he's never done so before).

Think for instance of a guy you know. And think of a situation in which he would save a girl you know. Think of the awkwardness there might be if she was unconscious and he had to carry her. And then compare it with the movies you see in which that happens. It makes the characters in a lot of movies feel flat within those situations(not that they are flat characters throughout the movie) compared to people in real life.

Then think of a normal girl in sports, and then think of a boy who wears glasses and is picked on in school a lot. Imagine her standing up to bullies who were picking on the boy.
That to me would be normal, something you might see in school, if the girl was angry enough. But you wouldn't expect the two to get married when they grew up just because of her saving him. Sometimes a girl-saves-boy scene is unrealistic, but it depends.

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 Post subject: Re: Guy Saves the Girl
PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:39 am 
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Emilyn wrote:
This is interesting....
I hate how most women in today's superhero movies are nearly helpless and the hero almost always saves them.
Although, if you do think about what YOU would do in the same situation....... ?
it would be natural that you would be panicking at first. Fear has a big hold on people, especially if it is fear of something that is real and not fictional.
I think it would be cool if there was a mentor beside the 'wimpy' character if they found out they were important(like King Arthur for example. He wasn't always very wise or very strong) and then instructing them to grow stronger as troubles arise.
It reminds me how God never puts more before us than we can handle. Everything he tells us to do is something that can be done(with his help).
I don't have any problem with a guy saving a girl in books or movies. But some of the time, there isn't much character tension or awkwardness(like a guy carrying a girl when he's never done so before).
Think for instance of a guy you know. And think of a situation in which he would save a girl you know. Think of the awkwardness there might be if she was unconscious and he had to carry her. And then compare it with the movies you see in which that happens. It makes the characters in a lot of movies feel flat within those situations(not that they are flat characters throughout the movie) compared to people in real life.
Then think of a normal girl in sports, and then think of a boy who wears glasses and is picked on in school a lot. Imagine her standing up to bullies who were picking on the boy.
That to me would be normal, something you might see in school, if the girl was angry enough. But you wouldn't expect the two to get married when they grew up just because of her saving him.
Sometimes a girl-saves-boy scene is unrealistic, but it depends.


*nods* Totally agree with all you just said.

What's disturbing is if the girl happens to have superhuman strength (*cough*, Beatris from Hoot *Cough*), and somehow know how to beat people up without a problem... :roll: (of course there are cases where this would be realistic, like if she's a trained warrior or works out or something, but that doesn't seem to be the case in too many stories like that).


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 Post subject: Re: Guy Saves the Girl
PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:02 am 
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I get somewhat tired of the Heroic Male Saves Helpless Female trope, which was already somewhat cliched by the era of the pulps who made it their staple. (Burroughs, by the way, supposedly got started writing his first pulp series when he saw an adventure story and said something like, "If they want something that bad, I can do that ...") But I find the way this trope is usually subverted, by making a strong warrior woman fight through opposition from men who "just happen" to be corrupt and not doing their jobs, to be by now at least as annoying. The original works as a plot framework to work inside; the common ways of turning it upside down just get old.

But there are all sorts of variations (guy saves girl only to find she's fought her way out already, guy saves girl only to find that she was the real villain, guy saves girl only to get them into even more trouble from which either she gets them out or they have to work together to get out, etc.) that haven't been done to death.

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 Post subject: Re: Guy Saves the Girl
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 4:34 am 
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I just read a very good (although, obviously not Christian) article about this sort of thing. Better yet, it was by a woman (which I know doesn't make her a perfect authority on the subject, but I think it's helpful). Here is a quote:
"Once your female characters have some depth to them, it doesn’t really matter if the male hero saves them or not. For instance, Batman saved Rachel Dawes a couple of times, but I never saw her as only a Damsel in Distress, because she was her own person with her own moral code and own heroic goals to clean up Gotham with her Lawyer Powers. There was nothing in her background that led me to believe she’d be able to fight supervillains single-handedly, so when Batman has to save her (just like he saves everyone else), it’s believable. If, say, she had beaten up the Joker with her super kung fu skills she learned in self-defense class and her super-powered mace she developed in her own chem lab after she got her PhD from Harvard, and her makeup and hair still looked good afterward, then she’d be LESS of a Strong Female Character. She’d just be some image of what the nerdy male audience wants in a damsel."

You can even see that she also hates the new cliche female characters seen in books/movies like Hoot. Anyway, hopefully that is on-topic here. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Guy Saves the Girl
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:57 am 
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There are some stories I've read in the past that I roll my eyes are when the heroine is captured, but there are other stories I've read where the author did it tastefully.

I try to mix it up a bit. Sometimes the girl if caught after battling for some time and finally after being so physically exhausted the enemy has a chance. Other times the hero may come down with an illness where the heroine has to create a cure for. Or the hero gets stuck in a situation where the heroine has to use her brain and other tactics to rescue him without having to use too much physical force.

To be completely honest, I'd be the damsel in distress back in the day, because if you saw how skinny my arms are you'd know why I wouldn't be able to wield a sword well. :P (Part of the reason why I want to start working out.) I lack endurance as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Guy Saves the Girl
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:01 pm 
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Calen Tiqwah Mimetes wrote:
Or the hero gets stuck in a situation where the heroine has to use her brain and other tactics to rescue him without having to use too much physical force.


Not to say the others are not as good, but this is my personal favorite scenario simply because I really like seeing how a weaker (as in physical strength/muscle) character will defeat the bad guys or get away from them or rescue someone from them (anyone seen the first two home alone movies? Aside from the terrible parts of those movies, I really liked those because of how the boy beat up the robbers with all his little inventions).
Calen Tiqwah Mimetes wrote:
To be completely honest, I'd be the damsel in distress back in the day, because if you saw how skinny my arms are you'd know why I wouldn't be able to wield a sword well. :P (Part of the reason why I want to start working out.) I lack endurance as well.

While I probably wouldn't be the damsel in distress (I'm a guy, so...), I know how you feel as a fellow weakling, don't feel bad about it, mental power is more important than muscle power if you ask me. ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Guy Saves the Girl
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 12:34 am 
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Not always. Sometime endurance, both mental and physical are more important.

Interesting comments everyone. I'll have to do another character fractal for my FMC now, so she is her own person.

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