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It may be time for Teresa Creegan.

So, it took a few days of mourning to get over the election and accept that, yes, sadly, President Trump will be a real thing.  I'm still not happy about it.  And c'mon, let's all be honest - chances are, even if you backed him, you're not happy about it either.  (He had like, what, a 30% favorability rating?)

I understand the sick appeal of somebody who's such an extreme outsider that he might "shock the system" and all that, so I'm not going to yell at you or whatever if you ended up voting for him.  You have your reasons and I'm sure that 95% of you are not monsters.

But the fact remains that Trump is a monster, and whoever is our president sets a nationwide standard for an acceptable way to treat people.  So, to all women everywhere: good luck.

It's got me thinking about a recurring theme in my work.  Back in college (naturally, because where else would an idea like this come from), I became convinced that one of the best ways to help break down barriers between different races and genders and groups was simply to have more of them in our pop culture.  It's absolutely true - you see women doing cool shit in your movies and over time you normalize that and you go, "Oh, right, women are people, too."  So I made a commitment to always feature as many women and minorities in my stories as possible.

Now, a few years of experience taught me that this is not always a winning premise.  Not everybody is super psyched to have a white dude be like, "Why, looky here, young black lady - I made a black lady in my story just for you!!!!  Aren't I progressive and awesome?  Can I be an honorary black, too?"  If a character isn't real or at least interesting, then they're counter-productive.

Even so, I think it's a battle worth fighting.  So I still try.  And that's why I'm thinking I should finally start seriously working on my first Teresa Creegan story.

I'm hesitant to mention the idea, especially when I'm framing it like, "Hey world, are you guys ready for this?!"  I don't want to look back on this post four years from now and groan at how arrogant it sounds.  So, let me be the first to say, yeah, I know.  I'm fully aware of how presumptuous I am.  Still.  We need female protagonists more than ever and I'm happy to help any way I can.

Teresa Creegan is a character I first came up with in high school.  Normally that's a warning sign that an idea is probably not worth keeping.  And if the idea hadn't evolved over time to its current form, I'd probably ditch it in the mental wastebasket with all the other dumb shit I laughed at as a teenager.

Originally the idea was to parody RPG video game cliches by taking their basic framework and putting it in a modern setting.  Creegan is an amoral slacker selected as a mystical "chosen one" to save the world from various baddies, and she reluctantly has to jump through a lot of arbitrary hoops, fetch quests, and so on in order to do it.

I was never content to settle for something simple, though, so naturally my fifteen year old brain immediately went, "Oh!  I can make her a recurring character and send her on all kinds of adventures!"  So for about ten years, I had this vague concept of some kind of Teresa Creegan series. Books, screenplays, both, whatever.  It was sort of a default setting for me - if I had an idea that I could in any way shoe-horn Creegan into, I'd go for it.

It wasn't until my late 20s that the story gelled into my current plan.  I'd still like to do a book series - which opens up a whole other host of questions, like, "Is it worth it to do a series when I can't even successfully sell a one-off?" - but the intent is totally different.  Before it would have been kind of like comic books or television: "In this week's adventure, Teresa fights this guy."  That's not what I want to go for anymore.

Instead, I want to explore the idea of heroism itself.  Teresa's primary conflict is that she doesn't want to be a hero.  In fact, if left to her own devices, she would very much have been a villain in most ways.  She doesn't end up saving the day because she has a heart of gold; she does it because that's the only option.  She does the shit work because she knows nobody else will, and even if you complain about it the whole time, even if you have to be pushed into it kicking and screaming, sometimes that's all it means to be hero.

So instead of a bunch of miscellaneous adventures, I want to write a series to track Teresa's growth as she comes to realize and accept this basic truth.  She might start as a petulant kid, and she may very well continue to be cynical and self-interested, but there's hope that she, too, can grow up one day.

There's a lot of reasons why I haven't tackled any stories with her yet.  But I don't know if I can keep holding off.  Something about a miscreant with the morals, empathy, and scientific comprehension of a four year-old Nazi kid unexpectedly thrust into the most powerful seat in the world tells me that there's not going to be a better time to write this character.