When I Should Walk Along, or Over the Edge

I want to let you in on something, Y’all.

I’ve has a kind of a downer week where I work. But I don’t blame my job, or the managers there, or my coworkers; I blame myself. When I’ve told my coworkers that I want to be a writer and that I’m writing a novel, I’ve let their negativity make the decision for me that I am not a writer.

One of the biggest mistakes that I’ve made.

I’ve never been one to have much faith in myself, even when my English professor, Alayne Peterson assured me that I have talent and she liked my writing.

I always had my doubts: “Is she just being nice to me/ feeling sorry for me?”

But tonight, as I was plodding along in my writing through researching the Great Chicago Fire for a plot point, I realized that even though this is the most tedious work of a fiction writer, that I am loving what I am doing.

Christ, I hate looking at the surface of aluminum extrusions for surface imperfections, setting up a saw to run the same length of part for gods know how many cycles. Cut the metal, stack on a skid, repeat ad nauseam.

But after (my real?) work today: I was reading about the Great Chicago Fire, it impacts on the citizenry, And trying to fit in how the protagonist of my story finds his first steps into the chaos of his future. I was trying to incorporate concepts like Maxwell Street, South Branch Chicago River,  Monroe & Dearborn to make a realistic storyline.

My point is writing is hard, like really hard! I am glad that I am doing it. Damn glad, in fact. To do a good job at it I need to be on my best game, but I need to have my writing friends with me, because dammit, I’m with them!


I can already see the first incoming rain clouds on the horizon as I start my new novel. I’m hoping that’s it’s a mere pesky shower and not a full on tempest that will blow some, what I think, out to sea. I want to include real historical figures in  an alternate history/ steampunk novel. Now here is the issue:

How much historical accuracy should I include with the character to make her not only recognizable but also compelling? At what point and how much do I use artistic license to fit a historical person into the story?

I know that these aren’t easy questions to answer and the best way to head off potential disaster in a goodly amount of research into the real person and events.

I started that today and into the project specific notebook went a good four pages on hand written notes. I’ve also started printing out some documents concerning the whys hows and wheres of the historical events, the person’s Wikipedia article and even downloaded her autobiography in to my Nook library. I’d like to have it read by the beginning of next week, if possible.

So, if nothing else gets accomplished today I did some pretty solid work on bringing one of my characters to life. Not bad for also working my eight hour shift and getting laundry done.