How the Spunky Heroine Fights

I love action-adventure films and books, especially when they feature heroines who can kick some serious butt. Rayne Hall joins us again, with a guest post that’s filled with great tips and ideas on how to create a believable, bad-ass heroine.

Rayne has published more than thirty books under different pen names with different publishers in different genres, mostly fantasy, horror and non-fiction. Recent books include Storm Dancer (dark epic fantasy novel), Six Historical Tales Vol 1, Six Scary Tales Vol 1, 2 and 3 (mild horror stories), Six Historical Tales (short stories), Six Quirky Tales (humorous fantasy stories), Writing Fight Scenes and Writing Scary Scenes (instructions for authors).

She holds a college degree in publishing management and a master’s degree in creative writing. Currently, she edits the Ten Tales series of multi-author short story anthologies: Bites: Ten Tales of Vampires, Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts, Scared: Ten Tales of Horror, Cutlass: Ten Tales of Pirates, Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft and more.

Photo used with author’s permission.

Her short online classes for writers are intense, with plenty of personal feedback. Writing Fight Scenes, Writing Scary Scenes, Writing about Magic and Magicians, The Word Loss Diet and more.

How The Spunky Heroine Fights

Readers love heroines who are a) spunky b) resourceful and c) can kick male arse.  You can combine all three in a creative fight scene in which your heroine defends herself with an improvised weapon.

This reflects psychological reality: When women feel threatened, they instinctively grab something to use as a weapon: a brick,  milk bottle, toilet brush,  flower pot, or frying pan.  For the writer, this is a wonderful opportunity to create an unusual fight scene.

Improvised weapons can be highly effective. I’ve fought off one attacker with the oar from a rowing boat, and another with my garden spade. In both instances, I didn’t need to do much fighting. The attackers were so surprised when their defenseless victim was suddenly armed, that they ran off.  A friend’s violent ex-husband repeatedly broke into her home, threatening her and the children. One day, she was cooking supper when he attacked her. She hit him on the head with the cast iron frying pan. That was the last time he bothered her.

Admittedly, improvised weapons don’t work as well against gun-armed thugs and professional assassins. However, your readers will be willing to suspend their disbelief as long as you create an illusion of reality.

The trick is to choose an object the heroine has used in other contexts. If the readers observe her ability to wield the item skillfully in a non-combat situation, they will believe she can adapt this skill for self-defense.

What objects does your heroine handle in her everyday life? What are the tools of her trade, her professional instruments, her hobby equipment?

Here are some ideas to stimulate your imagination:

  • The passionate knitter stabs her attacker with her knitting needles.
  • The amateur gardener trips her assailant with the hose pipe and hits him with the spade.
  • The cook slams the cast iron frying pan on the attacker’s head.
  • The  chambermaid fights back with the mop and the toilet brush.
  • The archaeologist applies her sharp-pointed trowel.
  • The hair stylist uses the hairbrush, the scissors, the hairspray or the hot curling iron.
  • The baker throws a handful of flour in his face to blind the thug for a moment, then whacks him with the rolling pin.

If she has martial arts training, she can supplement these actions with genuine punches, throws and kicks.

Readers will love your heroine for her spunk and her resourcefulness, and  enjoy every moment of this original fight.

If you’d like to discuss ideas for improvised weapons your heroine may use, or if you have questions about fight scene writing, leave a comment and I’ll reply. I look forward to hearing from you.

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8 Comments on "How the Spunky Heroine Fights"

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Rose Dewar
Rose Dewar

Nads, I’ve been away for so long, I don’t even remember what to do now.
Great post! I just love to see bad guys get their butt beaten or broken. It doesn’t matter with what, but I don’t think a laptop would be the best weapon.
The black leather guy may get beaten if that is used.


Hi, Auntie Rose! So good to hear from you!

Remember, it’s about using what’s available at hand to disable your attacker so that you can make a quick getaway. 🙂

Abi Burlingham

Oh I love this, Nadine. I did Kung Fu for a few years, so can relate to the imagery here and the feeling of strength, not physical but psychological, that comes from feeling that you can defend yourself. I was wondering about which improvised weapon a writer would use. I have to say, it would either be a laptop or a cup of tea! 😉

Rayne Hall (@RayneHall)

🙂 A cup of tea would make a nice improvised weapon, especially if the tea is scalding hot. Tossing it into Bad Guy’s face should buy your heroine several seconds to either mount a proper defence or make a getaway. How would you use a laptop? Smash it on down on the bad guy’s skull? This might require that he’s short, or that he’s seated while she stands. Strangle or trip him with the cable, perhaps?


Oh, you’re a bad-ass then. 😉 I know what a spilled cup of hot tea feels like, so yes, that would work. Also, pens, pencils, and letter openers make for very good stabbing implements. Oh, and a heavy paper weight to clobber him on his head.


Nadine, I loved this post. Part of being happy and maintaining balance in our lives is tending to the shadow components of our unconscious. When I need to get my Yin back into balance with my Yang, a book or movie with a woman in black leather kicking some bad guy butt is my go-to resource.

Keep letting your Glow Flow and sharing your writing brilliance with those wonderful people (like you) who give the rest of us such great fiction!

Blessings, love & light,


I’m glad you liked it, Sloan. Rayne is a wonderful source of writing-related information and advice, and I’m grateful to her for her input on my blog. Thanks so much for your encouragement and your own light, which you share so generously.

And YES to a woman in black leather kicking some bad guy butt! 😀


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