Greg’s essay “Why I Write ‘Strong Female Characters’” was posted to io9 yesterday. Here’s a taste:
So, to the question.
I have two answers I tend to give, the Quick Answer and the Long Answer. Both are entirely true, for the record.
The Quick Answer goes like this:
Q: How do you write such strong/well-realized/positively portrayed women?
A: I don’t. I write characters. Some of those characters are women.
To mark the release of ALPHA in the UK tomorrow, Mulholland Books UK did a Q&A with Greg:
Who would your fantasy dinner guests be?
I’ll twist that a bit, and say that the opportunity to dine at Nero Wolfe’s table would be a dream come true.
Greg also talked about ALPHA with ComicBook.com:
What are the big differences between writing these ongoing stories for these characters in your novels as opposed to comics?
I think honestly it comes from a gaming background—I write campaigns, for lack of a better way to put it. I don’t know, I tend to create characters that I want to spend time with. I think you can hear it when I talk about Jad. I want to spend time with Jad—I want to spend time with Chaindragger and Bonebreaker and Cardboard and the whole crew there and explore them. You see it a lot in Gabriel, too. And that’s—more than anything else, I think—the thing that drives the serial work, be it in comics or in novels. With novels you want the story to be enclosed, you want it ot reach an end and a clear end but at the same time I find it dissatisfying to reach the end of the story and presume that’s everything you needed to know. It’s a great way to tell a story, I’m not knocking it, but I want to do more. I think that tends to be the thing that pushes it—I’m looking for where do they go next. Invariably I’ll be halfway through a novel and I’ll go “Ooh! This has to be the thing that happens next!”
Greg and Brian Michael Bendis wrapped up their two-part conversation for the Mulholland Books website:
BRB: It’s more of my smiling and waving that’s not showing what’s going on behind the curtain. In fact, I keep putting myself in situations that are new situations that I can explore something about, my writing, whether who it’s with or how I’m working with them.
GR: That’s great for me to hear, because that’s a conclusion I came to a while back. One of the things I’m looking to do is scare myself. After a while, I think complacency is very dangerous for a writer.
Greg gave me some background material and history for the fictional park, including major features he wanted and the actual theme. We discussed different park types and a few details from an operational standpoint. Then I sat down and created the layout. I added more rides, shows, and major features as needed, naming them within the established theme. We went through a couple revisions, but the process went smoothly and was a lot of fun. We thought a bit about the history of the park, designing the early sections to have a formal layout, and letting the expanded areas become more free form. I included some dimensions at Greg’s request, so he could estimate travel times and other story details.
ALPHA is currently out in multiple formats, physical and digital.