We have a lot of new writers in the group and many of you might not be familiar with two statements I made in my first SatWE column.
"I have a very rough idea about what I want to accomplish here on SatWE. Basically, I want to challenge you to write things you’ve never written before or never felt comfortable writing.
"If you’ve never ridden a horse, you’ve probably never written a Western, but if you hang around SatWE, you’re going to give it a shot."
Anyone who has been around SatWE for more than a couple months already knows where I’m going with this one.
We’re going to write a Western. Yep, horses, cattle, good guys, bad guys, injuns, rustlers, saloons (and saloon girls), gunfights, and anything else that is inherently Western.
This Week’s Challenge:
Using prose or poetry, write a Western tale. It can be fiction, nonfiction, or an essay regarding life in the “Wild West.” Don’t limit yourself in your thinking. It can be the old West in the US, the western Urals, West Oz, or any other “west” you can imagine.
Think of TV shows or movies you’ve seen -- “Two Mules for Sister Sara,” “Fort Apache,” “Little House on the Prairie,” “Paint Your Wagon,” “Gunsmoke,” or “High Noon.” When you have something such as that fixed in your mind, write a brief scene from a western. Make it cute, funny, or serious; possibly an examination of the Wounded Knee Massacre or Custer’s Last Stand.
To get your creative juices flowing, here are some ideas you might consider for your story if you decide to strike out on your own.
Zeb rides into town, has a beer at the saloon, and then drives his buckboard to the station to meet his new, store-bought wife from the East. (I really like this idea and was disappointed nobody used it last time. If nobody uses it this time, I’m going to.)
Zeb rides into town, has a beer at the saloon, and then breaks his brother out of jail. (Why Zeb does this and why the brother is in jail is up to you.)
Zeb, riding the range, finds a band of bad guys rustling his cattle. What’s he do next?
Zeb is having a casual beer in the saloon when one of the notorious Maxwell brothers challenges him to a gunfight. [The notorious Maxwell Brothers (I love talking about them) made their fame throughout Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and Nebraska.]
Zeb is the town sheriff and his best friend, Bud, robs the bank. Now Zeb has to arrest his friend.
Zeb34 lives on the west side of the planet Zebulon and has to defend his ranch from the encroaching forces of Bud56. (What kind of ranch, how the forces are encroaching, and what those forces might be are up to you.)
In any of the above, you can write it from the viewpoint of Zeb, the good/bad guy, or a concerned onlooker.
Watch Out For:
Don’t talk about saddling a horse if you don’t know the difference between a bridle and a halter or a cinch and a bellyband.
If you’re going to include a shootout and don’t know the difference between a single- and double-action revolver, or a pistol and a revolver, don’t go into any details. Just say he drew his gun and fired.
Cowboys might have climbed into the saddle, pulled themselves into the saddle, or even struggled into the saddle, but a cowboy never jumped into the saddle. When he rides into town, a cowboy might dismount, but be careful saying he mounted his horse -- that was what stallions did to mares.
I couldn’t have asked for better responses. I was hoping to see both good and bad and I got it. I also had a couple submissions showing what it’s like on the other side of the counter. Please, take the time to look at each of the following -- it’s well worth your time.
SERVICE? I THINK NOT-satwe 6/16/12 by karen vaughan
SatWE, Saturday Writing Essentials, 6/16/12, LacAfee by Pam Brittain
Saturday Writing Essentials Customer Service by Patricia J.
More Flies with Honey, or Customer Disservice (Saturday Writing Essential) by Winona (the crazy rat lady)
Dealing with the Government (Saturday Writing Essential) by Len Maxwell
Weekly reminder: Don't forget to recommend an article that you like (to learn why, read Ann Marcaida's article Attract More Writers and Artists to Gather!). Also, try to place a comment on at least one article and say more than you liked the piece. Tell the author what worked and what needs work.
- Put this challenge statement at the beginning or end of your submission so readers will know what you’re supposed to do.
Challenge: Using prose or poetry, write a Western tale. It can be fiction, nonfiction, or an essay regarding life in the “Wild West.” Don’t limit yourself in your thinking. It can be the old West in the US, the western Urals, West Oz, or any other “west” you can imagine.
- There is a limit of three submissions from each member per day. If you’re extremely prolific, spread out your work and post only three submissions per day.
- Post to Gather Writing Essential.
- Tag your submission with SatWE.
- Include (Saturday Writing Essential) as part of your title.
- I ask that you make your submission(s) by next Friday afternoon.