National Novel Writing Month is in full swing. I have 30 days in which I can do nothing but write, write, write. The wheels are turning in my head, and my new story is flowing at a slow but steady rate. I know who I am writing about, and I know what his story is. I know what the action is and where it goes within the framework of the novel.
My only problem is I can’t key fast enough. When I do key fast it becomes illeggiebble…illegeabngle… .
Anyway I have just received my newest textbook, The Zuni Enigma: A Native American People’s Possible Japanese Connection, written by Anthropologist Nancy Yaw Davis. I have found some wonderful legends in the small book, Zuni Folk Tales, by Frank Hamilton Cushing.
This book is an incredible departure for me. Not only am I working in a world that exists in reality, I am working with a culture that is both known and unknown to me, and I must do it with respect. This novel is a historical fantasy, but it is set in the 1890’s. I have to remain true to the period, to the two cultures this tale depicts, and I have to make my character real.
What makes this even more tricky, is I am telling this story from the perspective of the main character–something I have not done before. But this tale is a diary in a way about one man’s journey, and the duality of his path in life. It is a stand-alone novel, and while it is definitely fantasy, I think it will be more of a literary novel than Genre Fantasy.
The Zuni are a private, mysterious people, and rightfully so. This makes it imperative that I know what I am talking about. Fortunately have been immersing myself in the Zuni culture through the work of early anthropologist Frank Hamilton Cushing.
Frank Hamilton Cushing’s stay at Zuñi pueblo from 1879 to 1884 made him the first professional anthropologist actually to live with his subjects. Learning the language and winning acceptance as a member not only of the tribe but of the tribal council and the Bow Priesthood, he was the original participant observer and the only man in history to hold the double title of “1st War Chief of Zuñi, U. S. Ass’t Ethnologist.”
My goal is to honor these amazing people, respect their privacy and maintain their mystery, and entertain my readers. The story is amazing–if only I can get it right.