Contemplating Griffin

Cross-posted for feedback:

Ladies, I have questions. May I have a moment of your time please?

So for Clarion Write-a-thon, I’ve been knocking out a lot of writing projects. I just finished a book which I’m currently editing. I’m working on an outline for a publisher. I’m about to work on my next project which I’ve developed.

An action-packed SF/F story, it’s a predominantly female merc crew with a queer black heroine as the central protagonist. In fact, I envision said heroine resembling the lovely and talented Ms. India Arie in the above pic. This is a diverse team that features other women of color, a protagonist of size, as well as a trans heroine. One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that even with most women-centric stories, women of color, particularly black women, are often thrown under the bus and that’s definitely something that never sat well with me. The story is loosely based on an old comic book script I previously wrote. Think a female Expendables meets Birds of Prey in a dystopian setting.

So my question to the women is this. In an action packed book where the ladies take center stage, what would you like to see more of from writers and what would you like writers to avoid? I basically want to hear your thoughts so I can know what to bear in mind while writing the story.

Your comments can also serve as a great resource for other male writers who genuinely want to do it right. While many of us know to avoid the major tropes and fails, there may be a few elements that we haven’t considered.

Women of color and queer women, I especially want to hear from you. Thank you for your time.

14 thoughts on “Contemplating Griffin

  1. You know I like the primise, but few things
    Is it the setting like Mad Max or Book Of Eli.
    Also what are the characters background?

    “So my question to the women is this. In an action packed book where the ladies take center stage, what would you like to see more of from writers and what would you like writers to avoid? I basically want to hear your thoughts so I can know what to bear in mind while writing the story.”

    This is the reason why in games like Saints Row, I usually create a female character. Like to me it’s more interesting when a woman that is the main star of the fiction (not Lara Corft or any things that is done for fan service) that is not a romance or any perverse storyline. Like something that someone can look up to. A hero not a damsel. So I would love to see more of this story. (needs to get comic off the ground)

    But keep us posted

  2. I think the idea is brilliant; something we don’t see nearly enough of in literature. Female mercenaries with a lesbian heroine? Bring that motherfucking shit on!!!!

    What I’d like to see: Six women (I think anything more than that might be a bit too much), each of a different ethnic origin, each fleshed out with a short backstory on how they ended up in the crew. While all of them are proficient with most weapons, each one specializes in a particular weapon and fight style. I’d like to see a real dynamic between these women; actual girl friends with the spats, catfights, sisterhood and love that a close group of women would have. I’d like to see love interests as part of the story, not relegated off side . I’d love to see them bicker back and forth, but woman the fuck up when a common enemy rears its head. I want to see the badassery of each chick in combat, and I don’t want a nice, neat fluffy ending. I feel if handled correctly, a series would emerge, with each female being featured in a separate book. Just my $.02.

  3. I said this before, but I always think it bears repeating: Do not use rape as a shortcut.

    Do not use rape to prove how bad your villain is.

    Do not use rape to give your character sufficient motivation.

    Do not use rape to show how grimdark your setting is.

    Just. Don’t.

  4. Denny, this is from Jamie of Black Girl Nerds:

    “What to avoid: Black female stereotypes that the media is already inundating pop culture with such as “diva-attitudes”, superficiality, and “man-hungry”. What to utilize: Black women who are shy, socially inept, love to date outside their race or date other nerdy black men, artists, entrepreneurs, whiz kids, geniuses, etc.

    I think there should be more of a representation of the black queer heroine. I actually don’t know of any—so you’re friend is definitely on the right track! Once the work is published, please let me know, I would LOVE to read it!”

  5. I wholeheartedly second Amaya’s comment. Do not give me a sci-fi version of “Basketball Wives”. I want nerdy black chicks like me who have other reasons other than rape, who just want to save the world and kick-ass doing it. They don’t need to be “beauty queens” or have “long, flowing locks” (I see that trope in way too many IR romances as it is). Using India Arie as a template would make me pick this up with a quickness! In the case of the queer character, let her have a love life that isn’t off-screen and that’s healthy. No killing of her partner to emote “sympathy”.

  6. Please stay away from exceptionalism. Women don’t need to be “the first woman to” or “one of the few women who” to be interesting and special.

    You need women who are good at their jobs without it being somehow remarkable that they are women. Don’t compare them to men. Don’t put any bullshit backstory about how one of them had to “prove” they were better than the boys, or show that they could do some thing “even though she was a girl”.

    They don’t all have to be good, but if they are, it should just be because they are good.

  7. Thank you so much everyone for your excellent feedback. I will be utilizing all of it when I start penning Griffin. Much love to each and every one of you.

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