Strange to say, but I've tried the make the werewolves and bigfoots (bigfeet) of my story feel like a natural phenomenon. More like giant predators than anything supernatural.
I've also tried to make the rest of the stories as genuine as possible.
I especially did that with Led to the Slaughter since the survival story alone is pretty gripping.
I took the 3rd and 4rth chapters of The Dead Spend No Gold to writer's group, and they didn't meet with as much approval as the first two chapters.
Part of the problem is that I've gone more genre this time -- more horror, less historical. Whereas with the Donner Party I was able to go heavy historical.
Part of this is that I want to continue having Virginia Reed being the protagonist of my story -- so she has to have a reason to be in the middle of continued mysterious happenings.
So I've made something up -- using the Indian word, Canowiki -- "The Hunter." She isn't a normal girl.
Meanwhile, for two weeks now, the readers haven't liked my Native American Girl character. But what I'm hearing is that she sounds not "Indian" enough.
My conceit is that she was raised by missionaries. That she is more educated than most of the people around her. What I'm hearing is an insistence that she act more "Indian," I don't know, maybe she's supposed to raise her palm and saw "How."
I did get the idea last night of having the missionaries that raised her be Quakers, so that she slips into thee and thou vocabulary here and there.
Anyway, I'm aware that this book is more "adventure" than "tragedy" and that's on purpose so I can continued to write books about Virginia Reed. Plus, I think the Donner Party was such a unique occurrence that I can't simply conjure a comparable experience out of thin air.
The tragedy included in this book are the genocide of the Indian tribes of California, and the destruction of nature (as represented by the Sasquatch creatures.) But unlike Led to the Slaughter, these aren't at the center of the narrative, but are part of the narrative.
What was clear from the writer's group is that my research into gold mining and Indian massacres and such are going to be essential to lending authenticity to the story.
But no matter what, I've made Virginia something more than an innocent but brave girl caught in dire circumstances. I've made her an active player, which changes the flavor of the story.
4 days ago