Sorry for not posting yesterday. Been having a bit of a rough time with getting everything done. The ironic thing is that I’ve been mulling over today’s subject for days now, and I just didn’t get time to write it down.
Before I get into it, though, I just want to give a shout out to writing buddy and Untethered Realms co-conspirator, M Pax. Her new book’s out:
In the far future, humanity settles the stars, bioengineering its descendants to survive in a harsh universe. This is the sixth book in the science fiction series, The Backworlds. A space opera adventure.
The Backworlds hang by a Quantum string, a thread about to snap. Annihilation is coming if Craze can’t stop it.
The genocidal alien he had trapped breaks free, destroying a ship belonging to the Backworlds’ oldest enemy, the Fo’wo’s. The murderous alien wants to overtake the galaxy. The Fo’wo’s want another war.
The Backworlds’ best chance to survive is to overcome a century of hate and forge an alliance with the Fo’wo’s. Because of his history with the alien, Craze is recruited to represent his people. Now he’s the most hated man in the galaxy.
The looming war will be a holocaust unless Craze can stop it, knowing salvation comes at a price.
About M. Pax:
Fantasy, science fiction, and the weird beckons to her, and she blames Oregon, a source of endless inspiration. She docents at Pine Mountain Observatory in the summers, and one of her cats has a crush on Mr. Spock. You can find out more by visiting her website.
Okay, shameless plug for my friend is done. Now we can get to the main post.
Writing With Rage
When Terry Pratchett passed away, I read this article by Neil Gaiman that explained that Terry was really a very angry person and that that fury underscored and drove every single story he ever wrote. Go ahead and read it if you haven’t. I’ll wait.
When I first read this, I wondered what that would be like. Channeling one’s rage into our stories and having that inform our writing. Then I sort of forgot about it and went on with my life.
Then this weekend came. This weekend, I heard something on the radio that enraged me so much that I didn’t know what to do with it. You’d think it’s my country’s politics, or the stupid things said by a politician, or even the huge amounts of people who are getting killed for seemingly no reason. Uhm… no.
Actually, it was a grandmother that said something completely unfair and unreasonable about her 18 year old granddaughter on the national news. I’m not going to go into it here, and you’ll understand why in a second.
The point is that that old
hag woman’s words literally tore into me so deeply that I actually screamed out in pain on the girl’s behalf. And then the rage came, boiling away under the surface. I talked about it to my mother and grandmother. They completely agreed with me. And I know that if I wrote it all out here, you’d agree with me too.
It was ridiculous. And worse still, I don’t even know why the national radio station even put it onto the news. It wasn’t news. It was the freaking Jerry Springer Show. Except the 18-year-old wasn’t even there to defend herself. She’s not allowed to, because her identity is being kept secret to protect her privacy.
In that moment, though, her protection had become a gag and her grandmother betrayed her for 15 minutes in the spotlight.
And from my point of view, talking about it just isn’t making my fury go away. So instead, I decided to channel it elsewhere. I’m changing it into a story.
Not to cash in on the news (which is HUGE here). In fact, I assume that by the time the story’s done, everyone will have moved on. But this will become a story. So right now, my rage is going into forming the ideas.
Making this decision made me think of Terry Pratchett, though. And I realized that really, I do this all the time. My War of Six Crowns series is full of things that infuriate me. I once wrote a short-story after seeing a documentary on TV about a jock murdering a punk just for dressing differently. (You can read it here.)
I’m just usually so subtle about it that I didn’t really even realize what I was doing. I mean, I never really aim for a larger message per se. I don’t put my authorly intentions before my story. But in writing, I can explore the darkest parts of our lives. I can try to make things right in the story. I can do my best to find the bright spot in the darkest of nights. And I can make readers regret when things can’t be fixed.
That is what I do as a writer. Maybe it won’t change the world, but hopefully by working my raw emotions into my writing, I’ll one day touch the people reading as if I’m there. Maybe one day, I’ll get someone to scream at the injustice in my stories and in so doing, open their eyes to what’s going on around them.
If I do that, my rage will not have gone wasted.
Have you ever thought about your rage in your writing? Or am I one of a few people to do this?