Thursday, September 18, 2014
GIVE THE FACTS BY RITA KARNOPP
Let’s face it, we write about subjects that interest us. I love mystery, gold panning and anything to do with Native American heritage. What do I write? Suspense, stories about Montana gold and of course as many books as I can that share the heritage and ways of the Native Americans on the plains in the 1800s. I spend hours scouring through my books and the internet for exciting, new, quirky details to make my stories as ‘special’ as they can be.
But, don’t get too carried away. Just because you love reading page after page on how a Native woman scrapes the hair or fir off a hide, doesn’t mean your readers will.
In my book latest book, Whispering Wind, I described the process of getting married in the Blackfeet culture of 1864 . . . and allowed the reader to learn how it had changed from even earlier times. I used dialog and added humor to make the information feel natural as well as informative.
I wanted the reader to feel the hardships of the gold rush days in Montana.
Montana Territory 1865 – Pregnant and alone, Tsopo, Wind, leaves her Blackfoot people to save her lifelong friend, Kom-zit-api, An Honest Man, from untrue accusations.
Kom-zit-api finds Wind and asks her to be his sits-beside-him wife. Before she can give him an answer, he dies saving her from Crow warriors. Trapper, Jake McKinney hears her cries and finds her down on a ledge, birthing a child that has arrived too soon. Now Wind finds herself at a crossroads.
Ashamed and confused, she accepts McKinney’s offer to go with him to the Big Belt Mountains, where his Confederate war buddies are prospecting for gold.
They meet brothers, Tucker and Alexander Walsh on the trail. McKinney, with his valuable bales of furs and buffalo robes, and the Walsh brothers, with their four wagons of supplies, strike a partnership. They’ll start up a general store for miners on the east side of the Missouri River near Diamond City.
Wind reveals possession of a gold nugget the size of her thumb. Her father gave it to her, and she knows where in Confederate Gulch it was found. The men make her an equal partner in their business they are now calling Whispering Wind.
Nothing like her peaceful village, Wind finds herself among ramshackle clusters of tents, lean-tos, and crude log cabins. The main street is a knee-deep mud trail mixed with horse manure, lined with make-shift stores, hotels, rowdy saloons, and a single assayer’s office. Wind aspires to find love and happiness where greed rules actions above common sense. Dressed like a white woman, hiding her part Blackfeet blood, she faces being one of a few women in a wild, lawless mining territory. Who can she trust? Can she survive where so many men have failed?
Last year my publisher asked if I’d be interested in writing a suspense around the real world of wrestling. Boy, you never tell your publisher no. Wrestling is a world I’ve never been a part of. I watched wrestling matches, studied the environment and the people, and story ideas interrupting my thoughts. I wasn’t as tempted to add tons of wrestling history, because it was fresh and new to me and I grasped only those basic concepts that made my story work.
I work hard not to ‘talk down’ to my readers as well as I never want to give so much detail that it overtakes and distracts from the story.
Another thing we need to be mindful of and that’s to never ‘show off’ all you know. You don’t impress anyone with paragraphs of detail and so many ‘big words’ it’s hard to figure out what your characters are talking about. Again, it’s smart to remember less is more . . . in this case simplicity is better than complexity.
Don’t get me wrong, I love learning something new when I read a novel. I just don’t want a history lesson. I’ll bet you feel the same way. That’s why we need to step-back when we write and tighten the facts just enough to give setting, mood, era, and flavor.
Your job as a writer is to entertain. Don’t let your enthusiasm for the facts turn your novel into paragraphs of skimming for your readers.
The World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is a volatile, exciting, and action-packed world and even more so behind the scenes. Keme (Thunder), a Blackfeet fan favorite wrestler at the top of his game, is found hanging from the rafters of his training facility. Is it murder . . . or suicide?
Thunder’s fiancé and undercover FBI agent, Chloe Evans has been posing as an employee selling memorabilia at WWE events - looking for evidence of blood diamonds. And now Thunder is dead and his daughter is missing. She has no choice but to work with his prejudiced and stubborn brother, Mingan, to save Nuttah and expose the truth about Thunder’s death.
Mingan (Gray Wolf) is certain his twin brother wouldn’t commit suicide. Entering the world of professional wrestling and fulfilling Thunder’s obligations, Mingan begins by scrutinizing everything around Thunder’s life, starting with the beautiful and haunting Chloe. As hard as he tries to keep her at a distance, he is pulled to her like adrenaline on a choke hold. If they find his niece, will they find his brother’s killer . . . or will they uncover something more sinister going on?