So that instantly infamous James Cameron profile released in The Guardian on Friday.

This is the one wherein Cameron spouted about his newfound ability to be nice on set, even though it doesn't come naturally to him, even though he's actually really nice in person.

And the one where he confessed the terrible catch-22 of being attracted to strong women, because they don't need him enough for the relationship to work, and that's why he's on his fifth marriage.

And the one where he had an odd outburst in response to the very pressing question, "Why didn't Jack just get on the board with Rose?" (BUT REALLY. WHY.)

But despite all this, the greatest contention of the article was Cameron's statement about Wonder Woman, deeming her unfit as a strong female protagonist:

“All of the self-congratulatory back-patting Hollywood’s been doing over Wonder Woman has been so misguided. She’s an objectified icon, and it’s just male Hollywood doing the same old thing! I’m not saying I didn’t like the movie but, to me, it’s a step backwards. Sarah Connor was not a beauty icon. She was strong, she was troubled, she was a terrible mother, and she earned the respect of the audience through pure grit. And to me, [the benefit of characters like Sarah] is so obvious. I mean, half the audience is female!”

Patty Jenkins, direct of Wonder Woman, spoke out in response on Twitter, and I pledged my allegiance to her for the umpteenth time:

“If women have to always be hard, tough and troubled to be strong, and we aren’t free to be multidimensional or celebrate an icon of women everywhere because she is attractive and loving, then we haven’t come very far have we.”

Hammer, meet nail's head.

As a female creator who creates female characters, this is a topic I think about a lot, so I wanted to lend my own two cents to this ongoing conversation too.

The idea that every female character needs to be a Sarah Connor is ridiculous, taking women out of one box simply to put us in a new one. It's so ridiculous, it feels more like a self-promotion move to me than a genuine criticism. Or, maybe jealousy.

If we extend this logic, is Rose not a strong female protagonist because she posed for Jack to draw?

Or the true question at the heart of all this, really, is: What is a strong female protagonist?

There are so many answers to this question, which has been asked for decades now, that it's been rendered meaningless.

I no longer care about "strong."

I think there are two crucial things women characters need instead of this.

The first has been talked about a ton: Female characters need agency. Ironically, the best discussion I've read of what this means comes from white male author Chuck Wendig, so go check him out to explore this further if you want.

The second thing women characters need is just more of them.

As long as any female character carries the burden of representing all women, we're not going to get anywhere. It's too much for any single character to represent, and the more generic you make a charact, to make her all-encompassing, the less compelling she becomes as an actual character ... because really, she's not one anymore. She's just the shell of an avatar.

So give me female characters who are loud. Give me female characters who are quiet. I want them tall and short, big and small, old and young. I want them grim and bitter, I want them bubbly and warm. I want them black and Asian and Latina and every part of the LGBTQ spectrum. I want lab geeks and soldiers, ballerinas and mothers. I want them beautiful, awkward, troubled, savvy, broken, wild.

In short I want a lot of them, and I want them to come alive with every shade of humanity. Give. Them. All. To. Me.

We need more stories about women, and we need more women in our stories. 

As an author, I will keep on trying to do my part.

In fact, I first started thinking about my responsibility in this battle about two-thirds through writing the first draft of my first novel, Mud. I realized that for some odd reason, most of my key players were male, and I was mid-arc of a traditional, patriarchal guy-saves-the-girl story. And that was not okay. I wrestled with it a lot as I finished my plotting, and a lot more as I revied, breaking the book back down and rebuilding in into something truer.

If you've read Mud, it probably doesn't take a lot of connecting the dots to see where the inspiration for some of those late-plot twists came from. And I thnk those twists are the best thing about that novel.

These questions and challenges stayed with me as I wrote RainIs Nia a "strong female protagonist"? Wow, even I am not sure how to answer that--it would depend on the definition of "strong" you were using. But she damn sure owns her own story.

I took all this glorious, important baggage with me again into Tides, and I feel it helped make Rona into a truly incredible character. She's not going to be easy to content with, and she's not going to make it easy to come to terms with her.

I can't wait to find out what you make of her in October. Because one thing Rona won't be is ignored, so I don't expect many will feel neutral toward her.

But I made these characters difficult on purpose. I don't want them to be easy to box away.

Because the one thing I never want female characters to be? Pigeonholed. 

The more different variations on female-ness our stories offer, the more complex they are, the more wrestling and consideration they demand of readers, the better it is for all the rest of us, both on and off the page.

 

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So maybe you heard, I went to San Diego Comic Con. It was awesome.

The exhibition floor statues! The cosplay! The enthusiasm for everything I love!

But before I went, I was nervous. Really nervous. I was sure this event was going to maul me like a stampede of buffalos.

After all, this is an event known for mayhem, overwhelm and round-the-clock excitement. And I'm ... an extreme introvert.

Plus, I love a lot of geeky things, but am I geeky enough? In the week before the event, I developed an irrational fear of being pulled aside and quizzed by the geek police.

But it was great. I hope to go again sometime. And I learned a lot about how to get the most from the event. Thought I'd share a few tips:

  1. Forget Hall H

    In my opinion, don't throw your dedcation behind hitting Hall H your first time at Comic Con. Not only is that your entire day, it's also your day before. I definitely want to hit Hall H sometime, but first I wanted to get the lay of the land, and be free to chase something on a whim. Besides, I didn't bring my camping gear. (Yes that's right. Hall H requires camping.)

    Think of it this way: The major highlights of Hall H end up online. But that niche comics creator you worship? Her panel probably won't be.

  2. Walk the Gaslamp District

    Plan on some time to just people watch along this main strip directly across from the Conference Center. It's crowded and crazy, but it's amazing! Just like Times Square, but without the creepy off-brand Elmos.

  3. Go with what you love

    For all my fear of not having enough geek cred, several of my most exciting sessions had a ton of open seating. Talking about my heroes got blank stares from some of the other fans I talked to. You know what you love, so go with it. Forget FOMO--it doesn't matter if everyone else is in line for something "big" in the other wing.

  4. Bring snacks

    The food at Comic Con was fine, but at an event like this, every day is a big day. You'll save yourself a lot of money, time and likely some stomach cramps if you bring some of your own (healthier) munchies. I ate a huge breakfast at my hotel, grabbed lunch at Comic Con, snacked all day, and then caught a late dinner out in the city each night.

  5. Venture out

    Speaking of dinner in the city, I strongly recommend planning a little extra time to explore the area. San Diego's a cool city! The hubs and I were hoping to see La Jolla, but weren't able to find the time.

  6. Hit a party

    Typically, I opt out of evening activities at events like this as a critical survival measure. But the parties at Comic Con are designed to blow minds, and they truly deliver. I some some absolutely epic pictures from SyFy's incredible bash at the Children's Museum, and the Rave of Thrones sounded amazing too. I managed to weasle my way into a WETA indstury party. My head almost exploded, being so close to the business.

  7. Rest

    Sleep and downtime matter, especially for you introverts out there. When there is always something that sounds killer going on, at some point, you just have to listen to your body and say enough. Know when you're better off crashing, so you can enjoy the next day of events as much as the day before.

Have you been to San Diego Comic Con? Share your own tips in the comments!

 

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Comic-Con is here! Comic-Con is here! It's like Christmas, but the religion is your favorite fandom. And it's heeeeeeere.

I write this from the airport as I wait to be transported to San Diego, and not going to lie, I'm not sure if I'm more excited or intimidated. I've tried to get into San Diego Comic-Con for years, and now that I'm finally on my way, I hardly know what to do with myself.

Except cosplay. Obviously, when one Comic-Cons, one cosplays. (See a teaser of what I'm cosplaying as here.)

Beyond that, it's about all I can do to read up every newbie and 2017 guide, and hope that this event does not plow right over me and flatten me into the cement.

If you want to follow along from home (or are similarly cramming in preparation, like I am), here are the best resources I've found so far:

San Diego Comic Con: Your Complete Guide, Rolling Stone

A great look at the top anticipated highlights, broken down my franchise.

These Panels Will Bring Fans to Their Feet at SDCC 2017, Forbes

This article breaks down the major events by category, rather than company. Quite helpful. (And yes, Hall H is a category.)

Comic-Con 2017: You Don't Need a Badge for These 12 Fun Events, San Diego Tribune

If you want to hang out but couldn't snag a pass, this is the list for you.

Your Complete Guide to Comic-Con 2017, SDCC Blog

The official event's guide, with more links than you will ever be able to read.

Comic-Con 2017: 10 Things to Watch, San Diego Tribune

The hottest film and TV teasers at the show. Tough choices were made, but someone had to do it.

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Next week, I hop on a plane to the other coast and hit up San Diego Comic Con. For the first time ever. Hello, yes, long time fan, first time attendee.

I’ve heard the tales of those who have traversed to this grand event before me. I’ve done the roundups and tracked the round-the-clock coverage of the madhouse of sneak peeks and teaser promos and best panel moments. Even from afar, this event is overwhelming.

So please, give me your geek wisdom:

  • How does one get the most from SDCC?
  • How does one take care of oneself and avoid burnout?
  • What do you wish you’d known before going to your first SDCC?
  • And I’d especially love any tips you’ve got on attending as a Creative Professional—how do I get the most from it?

Share your wisdom! Enter below in the comments.

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Wonder Woman releases today!

As the raving reviews start pouring in, a wave of supplementary reading has released across the web too

To celebrate, I’ve rounded up some of my favorites.

Enjoy! And be sure to go see Wonder Woman this weekend!

Everything You Need to Know About Wonder Woman Before Seeing the Film

75 Years of World-Saving: Everything You Need to Know About Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman's Unwinnable War

With Wonder Woman, DC Comics Finally Gets It Right

Wonder Woman Saves the Day, Crushes Stereotypes

Reading Pathways to Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman Saves the Day, Crushes Stereotypes

Wonder Woman’s Gal Gadot and Chris Pine Role Reversal

Remember That Time When Wonder Woman Was A U.N. Ambassador?

Before Gal and After Lynda: All the Stars Who've Played Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman Day on Saturday Means Big Deals and Freebies!

Share your own favorite Wonder Woman article in the comments 🙂

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