As I find myself at the nexus of three projects, all featuring at least one strong female, I’ve been reminded more and more of one of my biggest influences when it comes to characters and building tension.

Greg Rucka is a fantastic writer, noted (or notorious) for his female characters and putting them through as much hell as his male characters.  You only think Joss Whedon torments characters; Rucka does worse and usually leaves them alive.

Rucka is more diverse than most writers, tackling science fiction (Perfect Dark tie-in novels), bodyguards (Atticus Kodiak books), assassins (Queen & Country), and modern rock bands (A Fistful of Rain).  He’s written a ton of comics, from Whiteout to Punisher to Detective Comics.  No other writer currently in comics can say they’ve written the solo series of all three of DCs major icons: Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman.  The fact that he’s shaped the way a generation of comic readers thinks of any of his characters is a testament, the fact he turned a forgotten Silver Age joke like Batwoman into a complex and engaging figure is a monument to his triumph.

He has a new novel out, Alpha, which I am looking forward to reading.  It’s been a while since I’ve gotten into a good thriller.

In the meantime, he’s just written an essay for io9 that explores the notion of why he writes strong women.  I’d say it’s essential reading for any aspiring writer or anyone looking to write from a perspective they don’t actually possess.

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