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  1. Mokrie Dela

    Mokrie Dela Member

    Jun 13, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Hertfordshire, England


    Discussion in 'Research' started by Mokrie Dela, Jun 28, 2012.

    My current project is, to put it simply, a western. I'm trying an experimental twist with it that i am not willing to explain, but i'm having trouble researching.

    Firstly there's the atmosphere - i'm not having too much a problem setting that. I've watched old and new(er) western films and read several western novels, as well as looking at other media (Red Dead Redemption, though i feel it's very rose-tinted) in order to find out about the "theme" of the era, if you get me.

    But when it comes to attitudes, speech and language etc, i'm struggling. I've found a couple of websites that seem to contain a very in depth glossary of Old West terms, but i find myself wondering how reliable they are.

    I also doubt that history books will put too much light on these things, though i do plan to grab a few.

    What would be the best advice to research this?

    As said, I've got a few angles - the setting, the physical world; the language and words used, the attitudes (and the "code of the west" sorta thing). Any advice as to reliable[/i] sources that i can get this information from?

    I also have the disadvantage of being british (though that might not be an issue in todays global world) and living a modern life, it's hard to detach myself from it and put myself back in time...
  2. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    May 19, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Keep in mind that the "Old West" period covers most of the nineteenth century, from about the time of the Louisiana purchase in 1803, to the California gold rush which began in 1848, through the American Civil War, right on to the turn of the twentieth century. Your first task is to narrow down the time period of your story.

    Look for major events around the time of your story. That will open up many other cultural resources for the chosen time period.
  3. D-Doc

    D-Doc Active Member

    Sep 7, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Vista, CA
    I'd reccomend reading history books and watching documentaries. Another option would be take a trip down to some of the western states in the US and see the landscape, old ghost towns, museums, ect. I understand this might not be an option for you since you live in England.

    Right now I'm working in Texas with a bunch of rednecks and (wannabe) cowboys, and if nothing else it has given me a solid grasp on their views, accent, and some words or phrases unique to their dialect (I understand many of them probably weren't used 150 or so years ago), and inspiration for characters.

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