How do you get comfortable writing female characters?
Tom: Comfortable? My big secret is that I don’t try to write female characters, I just try to write good characters.
That’s how you figure out the ladies.
[laughter from fans]
A fan: We’re people!
Tom: Like I was saying earlier, when I design a character—I never do but if I had to write out a list of their character traits, I don’t want to see their gender on there at all. Because somebody can be headstrong, somebody can be obtuse, somebody can be, you know, stupid, but girl, boy, that isn’t a character trait.
Of course you can flavor a character based on their sex and gender or whatever, but when it comes down to writing a character, you need to make sure they have a certain motivation, to start off with, and then a reason and a way to interact with other people, first and foremost. And I guess that’s all I do really.
I just, I knew what’s gonna happen in the comic and I knew the sort of characters that Annie and Kat were in particular, and I’ve imagined myself reacting to certain things. I don’t have them reacting as a girl would, because what does that mean? It doesn’t mean anything. I just have them…well I just try to write them as naturally as possible, and I’ve had great feedback from it. And I guess there’s no hard and fast rule.
For me, I guess it’s kind of a cop-out to say, but, I just get a feeling as to whether they themselves would react in a certain way and if it doesn’t feel natural then I know I’m doing something wrong. And that’s never really come into any conflict with reader feedback.
But you don’t wear makeup.
[Laughter from fans]
Tom: Not right now, no.
A fan: Not on Wednesdays.