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Date Posted: 22:15:04 11/23/10 Tue
>I decided to start a new thread on this one . . .
>>I'm looking forward to the book Wes writes about
>>Norma. It's not that every story needs to be
>>independent, but that each character he describes has
>>so much to teach us. Obviously I'm caught believing
>>Norma is another of those great characters.
>You know, I hadn't thought about that one, but after I
>saw this message last night I kicked it around a
>little bit. I think I'd enjoy reading it but am not
>sure I want to do all the research that would be
>required to write it.
>It could be an interesting story. Pretty obviously it
>would have to involve the way that two different
>cultures affect Norma, and how she copes with the
>cross-cultural issue. I mean, let's assume she's, oh,
>maybe in med school, and is confronted with a prof
>that asks a question about how a certian issue should
>be treated -- it's obvious that he's fishing for
>giving the person a huge dose of antibiotics or
>something, while it's clear to Norma that what the
>person really needs is a massive dose of some herbal
>remedy, as it would be more likely to work better and
>be cheaper despite being technically incorrect. How
>does she handle it? Good question.
>In a way, the story would have to bear some similarity
>to how Debbie Elkstalker deals with the same kinds of
>issues, but since the person and the locale is
>different the story would have to be different.
>The hangup for me is that it would have to involve
>massive research into two different areas I'm not very
>familiar with. Norma's Navajo culture would be a tough
>one for me. I could get away with it in River Rat
>since I only touch on it superficially, but I'd really
>have to know something about it to be able to write
>seriously about it. Now, if I was Tony Hillerman, that
>part of the problem would be a lot different, but I'm
>not him, and researching Navajos from as far away as
>Michigan would not be easy.
>The other hangup would be the medical side. This would
>actually be a little easier to research since the
>knowledge is a lot more available -- but it still
>would take a lot of it to be able to make a credible
>story out of it. Again, if I was a medical
>professional, no big deal, but I'm not.
>I don't mind research, and in fact rather like it, but
>to have to do that much research on two different
>issues is daunting, to say the least. There are books
>where I've had to do quite a bit of research, and
>River Rat (along with some of the associated books) is
>one. But at least it was fun research.
>I spent months researching Nevada brothels after I
>realized I needed to do a story about Jennlynn but
>before I started writing Magic Carpet. Obviously I
>didn't want to let what I learned go to waste, so let
>some of it slop over into other stories, but it was
>fun research because I had questions about that
>lifestyle that I wanted to have answered, and not just
>for the sake of the story.
>Sometimes the research generates a book, such as in
>the next book, which I won't discuss right now since I
>don't want to give away any spoilers, save to say that
>there is a story behind the story that I will tell
>when the time is right. But it was fun research
>exploring an area that was totally strange to me.
>Many of my stories involve at least some research,
>sometimes a lot of it, but at least it's usually fun
>research on topics that have caught my interest for
>one reason or another. This is especially true in that
>I'm not an expert in many of the areas I write about,
>and one of the questions I ususally have is, "What
>would it be like to live a life like that?" whether
>it's dogsledding, river rafting, playing the Celtic
>harp or what have you. Almost all of my stories are
>set against the background of uncommon lifestyles or
>interests or something -- very often ones I'm not
>personally familiar with.
>But to get back to Norma Dieshu and writing about her
>-- as I said, it would take a heck of a lot of
>research to write a halfway interesting and
>intelligent story about her. I could get away with
>writing about cross-cultural issues in Square One at
>least partly because I created a fictitous tribe with
>fictitious customs and beliefs to make it more
>difficult for someone more familiar with those things
>than I to call me on them. I couldn't get away with
>that in writing about a Navajo med student -- there's
>just too much I could get wrong, and much too easily.
>The last thing I want to do is get someone mad at me
>because I've screwed up my interpretation of some
>traditional belief that I should have understood were
>I better acquainted with it. Again, if I was Tony
>Hillerman I would probably feel different about it,
>but I am not him and don't have the detailed knowledge
>So, unfortunately, there probably won't be a book
>about Norma Dieshu. A shame, since I think I'd like to
>read it. But, I said "probably," so who knows? I am
>thinking about it, after all . . .
>There are other characters and premises and
>backgrounds and stories in the works. Right at the
>moment, I'm still getting one or another of them to
>gell to the point where I can write about it. Here I
>am, facing my longest writing weekend of the year
>without anything in particular to work on, but since
>I've finished eight books so far this year I'm not all
>that upset about it. The right idea is just around the
>corner, and the littlest thing can set me off.
>Something will come if I just wait for it. I think
>I've got a few stories left in me -- and fortunately,
>the backlog waiting for posting is long enough that I
>can get over flat spots seamlessly in the eye of the
Another character who to me has undergone an awakening and become her own person and who probably would have a story to tell is Candice Archer, I expect to eventually read about her running and finishing Iditarod among other things