Monday, April 7, 2014
Authentic Jennifer , but no fake Native Americans.
Now, I'm going out on a limb here and tossing out an idea.
How authentic does a writer need to be? I'll give you some ideas, and you tell me what you think.
In Courting Morrow Little, a masterpiece, MASTERPIECE, in how to ratchet up the tension and exhaust the reader, Laura Frantz takes an Oglala Lakota leader from the 1800's and moves him to the Shawnee in Kentucky in the 1700's.
THAT doesn't faze me at all. He was still the same man, in essence, and the respect given his character versus the real man was identical.
Moving people back and forth through history is done all the time, in film and other books. It is an accepted literary vehicle for telling a story.
In fiction, especially sci-fi and fantasy, cultures are made up all the time. Hello, Pandora? That film had an indigenous culture that was well created, and well written.
But recently, I read a book, no names, nuh uh, not going there... that bothered me. REALLY bothered me.
The story itself was lovely.
But the author made up a tribe.
Read that again.
Now, given the research that was done in regards to the historical era, clothing, politics, and even the type of horse drawn conveyance, WHY did the writer make up a tribe?
To me, and only to ME, (pulling the personal opinion card) IF there is an indication that there existed an actual settlement or settlements of a group of individuals that collectively made up an established culture or people group, why the sam hill does somebody take the un-necessary step of making up a tribe?????
TO ME, that is the same as calling a tribe or nation "The Comanchesiouxs". Or the "Scottirish."
See? You'd be annoyed too.
Later that same day...
I just did an informal poll on Facebook. And for ME, it comes down to this:
If I am going to tell a story, tell it with as much truth as possible.
And if that means spending a year doing research and reading as much as possible, then I do it.
It's easier to rest from work, than to back track and explain laziness.
*I*, me, Jennifer, cannot let my work out the door, after having been blessed by some truly amazing and gracious Navajo friends who helped me get this far in my research, only to have their ancestors become a fairy tale.
Tosca Lee said "fiction is the lie that tells the truth". That is the essence of a fiction writer's call.
But, I refuse to dilute the truth by adding un-needed, intentional lies to a story that aims to set straight a record of wrongs so heinous, it's almost unbelievable.