Independence Day Writing Pledge

Today’s post is quick, because for the holiday I’m going to be prepping in the kitchen, then off to an event, so opportunity to post will be minimal. 

However, I’ve been thinking about what I wrote on Monday and my future writing plans.  See, once I finish cleaning up Way of the Shield, I’ll start working on Banshee in earnest.  The protagonist of Banshee is Lt. Samantha Kengle.

Right here, I’m going to make this pledge regarding the writing of Lt. Samantha Kengle:

  • At no point will she be called a “bitch” or a “whore”.  Or cunt, strumpet, floozy, slut or quim.  
  • At no point will her competence or ability to do her job be called into question on account of her gender.
  • At no point will rape or sexual violence be visited upon her.  Nor will it play any role in her backstory or motivation.
  • At no point will the reader be subjected to lurid descriptions of her physicality.
  • Her uniform will be identical to every other officer’s in the fleet. 
  • She will be a complex, vibrant and engaging protagonist.  Given that I don’t screw up in writing her.  If I do screw up, reader, hold my feet to the fire.


  1. Happy Independence Day, Marshall! I’ve read your last two posts with interest and commend the cogitating? soul searching? that seems to be fueling them. My life has been so packed with the tyrrany of the urgent; I am glad someone is doing the hard work of taking a stand on this issue. My initial reaction to bullets one and two of this post were to presume that the setting for this work will not be present day earth…because I don’t know one woman who has not been called bitch/whore/cunt/[insert alternate denigrating word for vagina here], and every woman I work with has a story or two about how her gender has helped/hinder her career. I’d love to see how you remove those two de facto conditions of being female while still making your character/her setting ring true. Do you post your work online?

  2. Hey, Laura! Yes, the setting for Banshee is about 400 years in the future, and with that a certain degree of hopefulness that we’ve gotten our collective act together in terms of equality.

    I do have some work posted online– opening chapters for the Fantasy novels my agent is shopping, here:

    I haven’t posted anything for this project, since it’s still in the outline/planning stages.

  3. Amen, Marshall! Adding those elements (unless they’re to make a legitimate point) denigrates the class and dignity of the story, not just the character.

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