Stuff worth reading

“I hate Strong Female Characters” by Sophia McDougall

What do I want instead of a Strong Female Character? I want a male:female character ratio of 1:1 instead of 3:1 on our screens. I want a wealth of complex female protagonists who can be either strong or weak or both or neither, because they are more than strength or weakness. Badass gunslingers and martial artists sure, but also interesting women who are shy and quiet and do, sometimes, put up with others’ shit because in real life there’s often no practical alternative. And besides heroines, I want to see women in as many and varied secondary and character roles as men: female sidekicks, mentors, comic relief, rivals, villains. I want not to be asked, when I try to sell a book about two girls, two boys and a genderless robot, if we couldn’t change one of those girls to a boy.

“The world will end if you write the wrong scene” by Laini Taylor

You will find stuff you weren’t looking for. It’s like sofa cushions. Yeah, there’s money there, and the occasional diamond ring, but there’s also a lot of lint, and probably a half-sucked Life Saver or a used Q-tip you’d rather not deal with. But would you let a used Q-tip stand between you and a diamond ring?

“Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling” as shared by Emma Coats

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Like this:



My father, the architect


Pursuing dreams


  1. The first piece was one of those where I agree with pretty much all of the points, but I found it hard to read (also, I think I’ve read it already — has it been posted somewhere before?). It just seems to make the same points over and over, which gets wearing even when the points are right.

    “This discipline is the thing that gives me courage and freedom to write the scenes instead of just fretting about them, and more often than not, they are right, or at least right-ish. YAY!”

    Exactly. I write wrong-ish scenes all the time, and they go interesting and unexpected places, and often they end up in the story anyway.

    Plus, that piece was nice and succinct. I’m not always that good at succinct (as this comment is illustrating, though I just cut a few sentences), so I really admire and value it when I run across it.

    • “The first piece was one of those where I agree with pretty much all of the points, but I found it hard to read…” – I’m sure it has been posted somewhere before, but I don’t think by me? It was circulating pretty popularly a couple weeks ago. But yeah, there are a lot of op-eds that fit your description nowadays. It’s like people are writing angry, which isn’t always enjoyable to read.

      Ditto the succinct problem, lol. But I’m working on it!

  2. I thought of this post when I read this interview with Michelle Rodriguez:

    She gets into some very interesting points about “female empowerment” and what the images on the movie screen represent to people, which she’s obviously thought about a lot. (And of course CNN thinks the most important and interesting part of the piece is that Rodriguez addresses the rumors that she’s gay — you can add your own comment on the state of journalism these days.)

    • Dude, thanks for sharing that interview! I really enjoyed it, and Michelle Rodriguez seems crazy interesting and awesome. (Also, HELL YES to her comment about GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO.)

  3. I agree about Salander, both because it reduces female characters to being female first and human second, and because at this point that type of “origin” is pretty predictable.
    I wrote about Salander here: (#2)
    And about the more general point here:

    • From your commentary on the movie Prometheus: “which is pretty much how the picture deals wiith all of the “big questions” it raises and then runs away from.”

      HAH SO TRUE. I watched that on a plane, and it was really well-made/well-acted, but SO frustrating.

      • When I’m watching it (on the big screen in 3D or on DVD) I’m transfixed. The minute it’s over, that’s something else. When I saw it in the theater, the whole elevator ride down to the street at the end was people going “Why?” “Who?” “What?” :-)

        ‘m writing about a movie right now where one of my points is that the director is no Ridley Scott, so he should work more on making sure his movies make sense.

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