Tag Archives: panels

GGC12 Panels: Why Men Write Women Poorly, With Greg Rucka

This panel was inspired by a piece comic writer and novel author Greg Rucka wrote for i09 and can be found here. But it seemed like a good topic to address at Geek Girl Con, so he took the stage with Susana Polo to talk about his article, his method of writing believable, realistic women, and answer some questions.

When Polo started reading comics it was for one character. She says it takes a while for you to pay attention to the names of the authors on the comics. And one of the names that kept coming up was Greg Rucka. No Man’s Land, Batman, etc. Rucka is also the author of the Atticus Kodiak series.

Rucka says he wrote the i09 piece in response to being asked how he writes realistic female characters. There are two part to the question: 1) how does he, having a penis, write characters without a penis? And 2) why aren’t more people doing it. “How do we do it?” Rucka asks. “I try to treat all characters with respect…. Characters are never all one thing. That is bad writing.” To assume that is the same thing as saying Harry Potter is a scar. Characterization is a million things. They are built on their history, education, experiences, sexual orientation, etc.

But when it comes to men writing women, we have to acknowledge we live in a sexist society. Rucka says, for example, he can walk down a Seattle street at 3 am, and doing that is a different experience for him than a woman. So it needs to be acknowledged, but that doesn’t mean it’s all you think about. “We ignore gender and characterization at our peril,” he says.

Of course, like any writing advice, Rucka reminds us, “Any writer who tells you this is how you do it, eye with suspicion.” One of the reasons writing works it that it’s an individual voice. There is no one right way.

His fourth Kodiak book is his first told from another character’s POV. That character is Bridgett Logan, Atticus’ ex-girlfriend, and a woman. In first person, everything is character because it is a character voice. Atticus might describe a chair as “sickly green” but Bridgett would call it “a piece of junk.” Bridgett is an Irish catholic girl from the Bronx who is a recovering junkie. Her perspective and narration are affected by those things.

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What I Managed To See At Comic-Con [Part 2] – Supernatural Panel

It’s possible that you’ve heard the rumors of how crazy busy San Diego Comic-Con, or you’ve experienced it firsthand. This year was my first full year at the con, but I had tried to get into panels the last time I went to no avail.

This time, I was determined. I would get into the Supernatural panel in Hall H. The biggest hall there is.

Some of the obstacles in my plan were the panels that Supernatural was sandwiched between: Fringe [which is having its final season this Fall] and Dr. Who.

I felt defeated almost immediately when I read the panel schedule. But I vowed I would make it work still. I thought, 4am on Sunday. That time should be fine to get into an 11am panel.

Saturday night rolls around, and I see on Facebook that a friend is already in line for Hall H. I message her asking how the line is, informing her of my plans.

“I would be there around 12:30 if I were you.”

At this point it is 9:15ish. I sit on my bed in my hotel room a moment, and decide if this is what I want to do.

Okay, plan made. I set my alarm for midnight. I pack up everything. I throw my make up into my purse. I managed to sleep for almost 2 hours.

Then I got up and sat there once again on my bed, debating my situation. You see, I wasn’t prepared for camping out. I had no pillows, no sleeping bags, no blankets. Hell, I didn’t even have SOCKS. But that’s partly because I hate shoes and actually hardly own any socks, and what I do own is completely mismatched [oh the life of Orange County folk].

But I decide. Fuck it. I’m going. I get my stuff checked behind the counter [because check out is before I would get back from the panel if I went through with this], and get on the shuttle to the convention center, and make my way to the end of the line that is already across the street.

Part of my view for the next 7 hours.

At first I didn’t think it would be so bad. At 1am I wasn’t freezing cold, despite being outside near the ocean. I was wearing two jackets, so I thought I could hang around all those young whipper-snappers waiting around me.

I chatted with two young folk behind me, and then started reading some, listening to music, etc to wait until I was really exhausted before I attempted to get sleep. Around 2am I decided to try sleeping, only, I didn’t have any means to do that comfortably. I sucked it up and used my purse as a pillow, curling up on the cement. CEMENT. I swear to you I was taking some sort of crazy pills to think this was a great idea.

About an hour after torturing myself in this way, the temperature rapidly dropped and a wind kicked in. Eff you, Mother Nature. Eff. You. So now I was sleeping on cement, sore, and freezing.

But then the kindness of fellow geeks showed itself. The two people behind me had packed extra socks, and I was not ashamed by then to take their offer to help get me warm. They were clean, I swear.

Then, the group in front of me offered one of their chairs, as someone was going to sleep and didn’t need it. So now I was off the stupid cement, curled up in a chair, with socks on my feet. I am extremely grateful to these people, because my stupid old body probably wouldn’t have done well the next day without them. So I managed to get some sort of half sleep for the next few hours until the sun came up, and my friends were on their way with an offering of Starbucks.

It makes a sharp left turn at the corner and continues down along the marina.

I was glad that I gotten in line though when I looked up and saw how the line had progressed in my sleep.

I couldn’t even believe the size of it.

Around 8am the con workers compressed the line, since it was partly spread out due to people laying out tents, sleeping bags, tables, etc. By the time we stopped walking, we were very close to the front of the line, and I was ecstatic in my sleep deprivation and caffeine high that my crazy was seeming to pay off.

But that doesn’t mean it still wasn’t crazy. I just want to point out that I don’t in any way agree¬†with the way that Comic-Con runs their large panels. I think it’s questionable that they are okay with people needing to camp out for 12+hours [as some did] to get into panels. I don’t necessarily have a solution for them, but I really wish that they would start to think of something so that people could get into the panels they wanted without having to camp out and squat in panels they may not want to even see. I had to get spoiled for Fringe because I had to sit through the panel, and that was a bummer.

/end rant

In the end, I got a great seat for the Supernatural panel. I’ve been watching since season 2, if I remember correctly, and the fandom is full of amazing people. And also these boys are just so damn pretty.

Misha Collins, who plays Castiel

The panel itself didn’t bear a lot of news though. This was mostly due to the fact that season 7 is over, and season 8 hasn’t started filming yet, so no one could talk about anything really without giving away major spoilers. They gave some vague insight into what season 8 could hold, and did mention they would be stepping back from the heavy mythology of the past few seasons, which is something I am actually looking forward to – as long as I get to keep Castiel and Dean.

Despite their limitations, the cast was quirky and adorable, Misha is just a giant troll and Jared is a big ol’ moose ham. But Jensen is still a surreal level of gorgeous.

Mark Sheppard, Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins

This is taken without zoom. WITHOUT. ZOOM. Crazy!

So in the end, I have decided that this bout of craziness was, in fact worth it, to have the experience and to say I have done it. But would I do it again?


I will probably not go to another big panel at Comic-Con until there is a way of getting in that doesn’t include me needing to sleep outside on the sidewalk. I’m just too old for that shit.

Pretty much.

The Fierce Reads YA Author Tour – Seattle, WA

Confession: before tonight, I had never, ever been to Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park. It turns out it’s not actually way outside of town. It’s an easy SoundTransit bus trip (less easy because like an idiot I let my Orca card go empty, but that’s my problem). Anyhow, fun atmosphere, great staff, and I got to meet Flannery of The Readventurer, so that was neat. I will be returning there not to just buy more books I don’t need but for future author events.

The Fierce Reads tour is 4-6 debut authors who write YA. Also I’m totally using the following picture because all of the authors look “fierce” and not because I’m a crappy photographer who took photos with an iPad rather than my canon, which I did not want to carry:


From left to right: Lish McBride, author of Hold Me Closer, Necromancer; Marissa Meyer, author of Cinder; Leigh Bardugo, author of Shadow and Bone; Jennifer Bosworth, author of Struck; Anna Banks, author of Of Poseidon; and Emmy Laybourne, author of Monument 14.

The presentation started with a book trailer for every novel and then a few words from the author about the book’s plot and where its inspiration came from. They went right to left, but I’m going to stick with this order and go in reverse. (Direct quotes are in quotations, otherwise I’m paraphrasing and/or summarizing.)

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ECCC Panels: Sympathy for the Devil – Crafting Great Villains

I didn't get a photo of the panelists. There were a number of reasons. I'm sorry.

Villains can make or break a story or RPG. This panel was about crafting a good–or even great–villain for your story or game. First, let’s meet our panelists: Philip Anthans, author of several books including The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction. Erin M. Evans, author of The God Catcher and soon Brimstone Angels. And our panel leader was editor and writer Susan J. Morris of Writers Don’t Cry.

Morris begins by asking why villains are important. Anthans says, “I really, really believe it’s the villain that begins the story.” Generally the hero is sitting around and waiting for things to happen. It’s the villain’s actions that spur the hero into action. Evans agrees, because villains are the source of the conflict.

“Villains have to want it,” Morris says. There’s rarely a reluctant villain. They tend to have active personalities. Anthans adds that heroes can start out with weak motivation. For example, a homicide detective is assigned to a case and has to deal with it. The killer isn’t assigned to the murder. And of course, villains are great to use as foils to the heroes.

What about sympathetic villains? Evans says “I like villains that you almost want to succeed and then feel dirty about later.” Like minions with incompetent bosses who are always riding them. You kind of want them to show their boss, until you realize that probably means doing bad things. She adds that villains can have good traits and do decent things. A prime example is Tony Soprano. The TV writers managed to show him being a family man but then would make sure to remind the audience he was a terrible person by showing him randomly hitting people who didn’t deserve it, etc. Evans really likes villains who do things anyone could do, and might do if not for X, Y, or Z. Anthans points out that most of the time, the villain doesn’t think they’re the bad guy. They have some agenda and then their methods go off the rails.

What’s the difference between an anti-hero and a villain? Anthans says simply, “Villains don’t turn away from the dark sides of themselves.”

What are good and bad ways to signal who the villain is? Morris said basic evil acts, obviously, like murder and rape. Evans says it depends a lot on the context. Morris brings up Supernatural: on that show, evil is shown in how people think about their actions afterward or whether they hesitate. Anthans added that well drawn villains will have that moment of hesitation too. They may decided to kill people to get what they want, but they will think about it and have to decide how many people can die or how far they’re willing to go.

How does the villain get defeated without making them look stupid or incompetent? They don’t always need to be defeated, Anthans says. Sometimes they win. Evans says that sometimes it can be closer to a draw: the hero doesn’t win but the villain isn’t defeated. All the same, the conflict needs to be resolved. That doesn’t mean one side has to be destroyed.

And now the big one: Villain Origin Stories.

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CopperCon Panels: Social Media Dos and Don’ts For Authors

CopperCon tends to be more writing/writer focused and a lot of the attendees are published authors or aspiring authors. So naturally, there was a panel but how people who are or might be come even mild public figures should treat social media. But first, let’s meet our panelists:

From Left to Right: Jack Mangan, David Lee Summers, Gini Koch, and Carrie Vaughn.

Carrie Vaughn says she was “dragged onto the internet kicking and screaming.” But eventually her publisher was going to create an online presence for her if she didn’t do it herself, so she created a Facebook page. She says once she realized her blog wasn’t about selling her books, that’s when the possibilities opened up and she really started blogging.

Gini Koch says she’s a “twitter whore,” and that she likes the connection it helps her maintain with the reading and book blogger community.

Jack Mangan and David Lee Summers both agree that you should be yourself and express a variety of interests. Summers, for example, often tweets about things he sees while working in the Observatory. (A space observatory, unless he’s some kind of secret super villain. This was unclear.)

Their advice for authors, both published and aspiring, boils down to the following:

  • Don’t be someone you’re not. Be sincere. Be genuine. Be human.
  • Be concious about the image and brand you’re presenting. Your online presence is your brand. If you want to be a dick, go ahead, but Mangan says, “Good luck to you.”
  • Don’t use social media solely for marketing/spamming about your books. People will get bored and ignore you if all you tweet is “My Awesome Book Comes Out Nov. 25th.” It’s okay to be excited about things, but make sure that’s not the sum of your posts.
  • Remember people–be they fans, reviewers, or just random people online–are all human beings first.
  • Create boundaries. Decide how much personal information you want to divulge, and keep it limited for your own sake and safety.
  • Don’t respond to reviews, with a caveat: You can thank people for reading, retweet reviews, and even point out ones you like. But never try and pick a fight with a bad review(er), even under a fake name. It will never end well. The internet is rife with examples of how badly it can go for you.
  • Don’t bash publishers, even if they’ve rejected you. You will look stupid and other publishers will take notice.
  • Again: BE YOU. Even if it’s just a public version of you. Be yourself and be real.

Are you a writer or public figure? Do you have advice to add? Personal anecdotes you want to share? Leave a comment! We’d love to hear from you.