Writing. Arrrrrrrgggggghhhhhh! I love the art, while being aware I’m new to the game. It’s beautiful to put words on the page, and a terror. I read once that Upton Sinclair cried writing The Jungle. Considering its content of poor living and the old bloody sweatshop called Chicago, I can’t blame him. He even went to work there to garner research.
Now, I haven’t gone undercover to write the Rail, or tried to acquire powers to become a paranormal. But the Rail Legacy is about a few things: living, steampunk and hate. A lot of this research is from my own life, recalling the trials of others and reading history. As for the emotional context of writing, even a schmuck like me has gotten choked up on Book Two.
I can’t get into it, but Book One’s (An Unsubstantiated Chamber) simple chase mechanics opened up a hornet’s nest that blows Book Two apart. Secrets come out, the city burns and society bleeds. Simply put, things go from bad to worse.
And it’s been rough on me. I have put off writing the book’s centerpiece because it involves some very real things, things that hit close, and oddly, I planned it mentally years ago. But as I write, the same sad reality plays out in Baltimore, and months ago in Missouri (where the Rail is). So, I got the fun out of the way to prepare for the grimy way people can be to each other, and how it leads to worse events.
But I’m a writer. I will get into it and produce the best hardest hitting, eye gouging story I know how. It reminds me of my youth, as a nervous nonsocial asthmatic geek picked on in school.
Confidence and identity were nebulous at best. As a mulatto, I felt racially lost. As a geek, I was a social outcast, and the friends I had were middle class and didn’t get me being poor and having nothing. These thoughts were the germinating seeds of the Rail. Being lost, being looked down on/feared just for existing, when we’re really all human. Lots of internal doubt and emotion then. But I recall the first time I got confidence, a taste of it.
My older sister had a friend over the house, who heard me listening to hip hop on the radio. He asked me if I had ever heard of one particular group. I said no. He popped a cassette tape in my hand. The band was Public Enemy. The title I’ll get to later.
I listened to the songs and what Chuck D had to say everyday. The knowledge was deep like the bass beat. It hit me with an awareness of everything my Mom had told me about her youth, about division, about being different. It gave me pride in my black ancestry, in being male (often not a positive thing these days) and in being bold when the need arises.
So, how does this circle back into writing and emotional scenes? I wanted the Rail to be a steampunk hero universe that bleeds and thinks. Book Two brings it to the forefront. People can be heroic. People can be terrifying. Two gives both, and writing ut has made me alternate laughing and raging. They say if you get emotional over your own story, it will resonate with readers. If true, this will shoot you in the heart. So since writing begets self advertising and being more social than writers are accustomed, we have to get in touch with ourselves.
So be it geek or female or any minority, write on and write strong. Get in touch, and self publish with confidence. If you have to close your eyes and take a minute, ask for it. Then, continue. We used to be insecure. We used to crumble. Now we are writers.
So as you write and build worlds, remember the world pushes against you for being different. Fear not. I no longer do. Regardless of your background, you can do it. Push. Edit. Strive. Research. Study. Learn. Journey.
Only you can hold you up. Writing is our outlet, our joy and our education. Oh, and to sum it all up, the title to that Public Enemy album…
It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back.
Bring that beat back, writers