1. old cogger
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    old cogger Member

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    Western Writing Western Novel

    Discussion in 'By the Genre' started by old cogger, Jan 1, 2014.

    Any new/fresh ideas?

    Thanks
    Old cogger
     
  2. Wyr
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    Wyr Active Member

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    I'm not sure Research is the best place for this kind of thread. This seems more like a brainstorming type of discussion. I'm just curious though, if you don't have any ideas for a story, how do you know it's a Western? Surely you already have some ideas of your own bouncing around in your head? Maybe if you were a bit more specific in your questions we could do our best to help. :)
     
  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Certo, @Wyr. ;)

    There has to be a kernel of something in there making you think leathery faces, dusty chaps and wide open ranches. Whatcha'got??
     
  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Oi! @old cogger!! Your thread is here!!
     
  5. old cogger
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    old cogger Member

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    Brand new to writing. Time would be 1840's. Wagon train heading west following Oregon Trail.
     
  6. old cogger
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    old cogger Member

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    Thanks Wyr
     
  7. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    How about a romance of a man that is working the wagon train falls in love with an Indian woman and he is torn between continuing on the journey and leaving her behind, or fighting the bias of his fellow Manifest Destiny group and trying to fit in with the woman's tribe?
     
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  8. old cogger
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    Sounds good
     
  9. old cogger
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    Trying to whome tow in Quebec,storical fiction western novels.

    Ideas would explore Masterson and Indian Walls
    Masterson heading west from hometown in Quebec
    Oklahoma land run
     
  10. old cogger
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    The top idea would show/tell how Masterson came out west from Quebec
     
  11. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    So basically you want to give the Canadian twist to the Wild West by telling more about the history of Bat Masterson, verses him only being a side note to Wyatt Earp?
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Well, there is a Western series Wagon Train from the late 1950s to early 1960s. Each week was the story of one settler in the train. Another standard was Gunsmoke, which which started as a radio series. These were a wide variety of stories dealing with prejudice, revenge, women's rights, greed, you name it.

    If you really need ideas, tune into a nostalgia network and watch some of the classic westerns. You'll be surprised at hom n=many modern themes are played out in the old horse operas.
     
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  13. old cogger
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    old cogger Member

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    Thanks for the info
     
  14. old cogger
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    Pretty much Also want to include both fiction a character as somewhat of a sidekick
     
  15. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    His brother was his sidekick. They hunted bison together and later became lawmen together.
     
  16. jannert
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    @old cogger
    Oh, you're touching on my favourite subject. Except I HATE Westerns. By that, I mean I hate gunslinger formula stories, the kind of thing that was the staple of 'The Western' books, TV shows and movies for so long. It makes as much sense as deciding to write about Scotland, and being unable to see past the legend of the Loch Ness Monster. There is so much more to be had here. I'd be surprised, if you study history of the Old West, if you're not overwhelmed with story ideas—not searching for them.

    I am fascinated by the 'real' West. It was a hugely formative period in American history. In some ways, it still shapes how Americans see themselves. As somebody who has set my own novel during that period, I can tell you from experience, it's a rich seam to mine!

    In the 1840s and 50s, the gold rushes to California and the settlement of Oregon (and its famous Trail) began. Ranchers were establishing a cattle industry in Texas, buffalo hunters were plying their trade on the plains.

    In the 1860s, the Civil War took place (having great impact on 'western' territories like Kansas, Texas, etc), the era of the great cattle drives from Texas to Kansas began, and the first transcontinental railroad was finished, making 'tourism' to California and the West possible (!).

    The 1870 and 80s saw the peak of the great cattle drives, the era of serious mining—not just gold, but silver, copper, and other minerals, which brought riches to the few and hope to the many. Settlement increased all over the western territories, some of which had already become states.

    The 1880s saw huge blizzards which decimated the cattle industry in the northwest, and marked the 'end' of the age, really. More railroads and more people moved west, even into areas where the land was too dry and weather too unpredictible to make a decent living. Cities like Denver and Helena, Wichita and Omaha and Bismark acquired most of the trappings of eastern civilisation, and by around 1889, the era had basically come to an end.

    Of course, throughout that period—and ignored by most media until recent times—the indigenous Indian tribes were pushed off their land and their cultures and food source (buffalo) suppressed or destroyed, and their numbers decimated by disease, massacres, etc. It's a process Americans like to shove under the rug, and it's a process the native peoples are still dealing with today. Their story, and stories of their interactions with land-hungry immigrants, is a saga worth exploring all by itself.

    Why on earth writers want to focus on gunfights at dawn and other such semi-mythological nonsense, when the seam of history provides SUCH rich pickings for that period, I do not know. I would encourage you to read 'real' accounts of the period. Some of them are incredibly well-written. In the 'Research' section of this forum (p 3), there are a few threads dedicated to pointing you at these sources.

    Good luck! I think this is a great opportunity to transform the genre, which is, by all accounts, no longer popular anyway. It's your chance to help renew it, and make it shine.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2014
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  17. old cogger
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    old cogger Member

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    [quote.
    Thanks

    I am trying to come up with ideas that are not of the sterotypical
    jannert, post: 1180950, member: 53222"]@old cogger
    Oh, you're touching on my favourite subject. Except I HATE Westerns. By that, I mean I hate gunslinger formula stories, the kind of thing that was the staple of 'The Western' books, TV shows and movies for so long. It makes as much sense as deciding to write about Scotland, and being unable to see past the legend of the Loch Ness Monster. There is so much more to be had here. I'd be surprised, if you study history of the Old West, if you're not overwhelmed with story ideas—not searching for them.

    I am fascinated by the 'real' West. It was a hugely formative period in American history. In some ways, it still shapes how Americans see themselves. As somebody who has set my own novel during that period, I can tell you from experience, it's a rich seam to mine!

    In the 1840s and 50s, the gold rushes to California and the settlement of Oregon (and its famous Trail) began. Ranchers were establishing a cattle industry in Texas, buffalo hunters were plying their trade on the plains.

    In the 1860s, the Civil War took place (having great impact on 'western' territories like Kansas, Texas, etc), the era of the great cattle drives from Texas to Kansas began, and the first transcontinental railroad was finished, making 'tourism' to California and the West possible (!).

    The 1870 and 80s saw the peak of the great cattle drives, the era of serious mining—not just gold, but silver, copper, and other minerals, which brought riches to the few and hope to the many. Settlement increased all over the western territories, some of which had already become states.

    The 1880s saw huge blizzards which decimated the cattle industry in the northwest, and marked the 'end' of the age, really. More railroads and more people moved west, even into areas where the land was too dry and unpredictible to make a decent living. Cities like Denver and Helena, Wichita and Omaha and Bismark acquired most of the trappings of eastern civilisation, and by around 1889, the era had basically come to an end.

    Of course, throughout that period—and ignored by most media until recent times—the indigenous Indian tribes were pushed off their land and their cultures and food source (buffalo) suppressed or destroyed, and their numbers decimated by disease, massacres, etc. It's a process Americans like to shove under the rug, and it's a process the native peoples are still dealing with today. Their story, and stories of their interactions with land-hungry immigrants, is a saga worth exploring all by itself.

    Why on earth writers want to focus on gunfights at dawn and other such semi-mythological nonsense, when the seam of history provides SUCH rich pickings for that period, I do not know. I would encourage you to read 'real' accounts of the period. Some of them are incredibly well-written. In the 'Research' section of this forum (p 3), there are a few threads dedicated to pointing you at these sources.

    Good luck! I think this is a great opportunity to transform the genre, which is, by all accounts, no longer popular anyway. It's your chance to help renew it, and make it shine.[/quote]
    Thanks

    I am trying to get away from the stereotypical western gunfights and showdowns. I want to great toward historical fiction with maybe turning roles around like a woman sheriff, timid gambler. I still want to also write about the staples (I.e. Masterson, Earp, act) but trying to cover them and shed some light on something new. Such as Masterson coming out west, and more insight on Adobe Walls, and Sweetwater, along with his unofficial (for lack of a better word) marriage till the end of his life as a sportswriter
     
  18. mammamaia
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    there was a tv series titled 'bat masterson' starring gene barry as the 'gentleman gambler/lawman' back in the late 50s...
     
  19. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    It's also a good idea to watch the movies Wyatt Earp and Tombstone. Most people prefer Tombstone due to Val Kilmer's great portrayal of Doc Holiday.

    They have the whole Tombstone movie on Youtube:

     
  20. jannert
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    Yeah, Tombstone was a good film. I liked it a lot. And Val Kilmer was fantastic. I thought they did a great job portraying the period itself, as well as the story. Lots of people taking laudanum ...which people did, back then. And they got addicted, and it wasn't pretty at all.
     
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  21. matwoolf
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    Tawlk ta reel cowboy, lack me mabees? I can sure tawlk it right cowboy ways cuzz I'm a cowba cuzz and nuffin duzz me more heart warming pleasure than a knife fite with an injun: he don't cut my hair I spike his nipples with ma man bowie, 'how yu likes that, tiger,' I say. He says nuthin blood drippin like wet titties fulla strawberry.
     
  22. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    [OFF TOPIC ALERT]
    This is an example of why not to write accents (not to pick on you, matwoolf). Can you imagine reading a full page of dialogue rendered like this?
     
  23. matwoolf
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    just felt right at the time...

    god you'd be great across the fireside. Maybe you do have the poker. I have an entire decanter of claret...and I am still a cowboy, albeit naked 'cept the stetson.

    albety
     
  24. old cogger
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    Problem is with Masterson and Earp series of the 50's was all about the White night persona, and anyone with a sense of their history would just turn it off today. Just like Earp and young Masterson as deputy in the series. The same for the Masterson series in the same era but Bat is port raid as two totally different types, not to mention the Masterson series has his reliance on a cane, whereas he actually only used his cane to get around with after the Sweetwater shootout
     
  25. jannert
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    You sound just like Bob Hoskins!
     

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