The Montreal Comiccon isn’t all about nerdgasms, cosplay, celebrity signings, and scoring some sweet swag, no, there’s also ample opportunity to get an intellectual fix as well.
Coinciding with Montreal’s Comiccon is Horrorfest, and in addition to film screenings and panels, there are also workshops to attend. With the idea of expanding our breadth of knowledge, we decided to attend the Bikinis, Brains, and Boogeymen workshop presented by author Caitlin Marceau.
The workshop’s title was a clear reference to Don Dohler’s “Blood, Boobs, and Beast” formula to a successful horror flick, but Caitlin’s presentation more or less argued for a change to those tropes we’ve all grown so accustomed to. Her intent with the workshop was to help writers craft better female characters than the “damsel in distress” with relationships that go beyond the “good vs. bad girl,” “virgin vs. whore,” or “nerd vs. Valley girl.”
The very core of what Caitlin discussed was brought up a couple of hours later during the Jen & Sylvia Soska and Katharine Isabelle panel. Jen was discussing a script that was sent to her and noticed that a female character had no lines after a certain point, but was present and eventually “covered in blood with great boobs.” In the end, this character was to give a random blowjob. Jen changed all that and we’ll get to see the results in the Soska sisters’ upcoming movie See No Evil 2. Proof in practice.
Caitlin is right, women characters need more character, but at the same time there’s a place and time for the stereotypical women characters just as there’s a place and time for the stereotypical male characters, at least in film. After all, what would become of a great slasher flick if we had characters that had more than one dimension. I’m not saying that a great slasher movie can’t break the mold, but for the most part, elements of these tropes need to exist.
The overall point of Caitlin’s workshop was that when writing, you’re essentially creating a human being. And to make this person believable and someone you’d actually care about (good or bad), you have to flesh her out: give her a backstory; figure out if she has friends, a lover; learn what she likes or dislikes; know what she fears; ask what her insecurities are; etc. Above all, find out what motivates her.
Give Caitlin a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook and I’m sure she’ll share her thoughts with you. Ask, and she may even send you her Bikinis, Brains, and Boogeymen PowerPoint presentation.
Rock Hard \m/