Writing Tips for Western Fiction Writers
America’s history is filled with splendor and wonder. One of the exciting and never-forgotten portions of history is the forward wave of American expansion of the European colonial settlements. Readers and moviegoers love the Old West because of how the United States of America came to be. The Old West is better known as the Wild West for its fascinating tales and incredible happenings. The Wild Wild West gained its notoriety for the horseback riding cowboys, rugged outlaws, valiant rangers, and gunfights, and everyone can’t get enough of this. Writers and directors develop movies and books to meet the demand from people. Various films and novels have presented multiple versions of shootouts, robberies, and faceoff gunfights. There are always new things to learn and write about the Wild West.
Due to the popularity of sensationalizing fiction stories of actual outlaws and rangers during the Old West, the western fiction genre was made. Over the years, the volume of novels put out in this genre is not as great as other books. And the time has come for new sets of western fiction writers to rise and publish great works. Mainstream publishers are leery of western fiction. Thus, you have to have a fantastic story to get published. Below are some tips to help you write in the western fiction genre.
Draw Inspiration from History
The American frontier history has a long list of people, stories, and events that you can dig for inspiration. The Old West has plenty of exciting things that can get you inspired and writing. Life during that period commonly centers on cowboys or gunfights. However, the Wild West is more than that; there are native Indians, European settlers, Civil War, rangers, bounty hunters, lawlessness, gamblers, soldiers, mountain men, ranchers, and bandits. Take Irv Lampman’s Angels and Mysteries to share tales of the mystery surrounding angels and incredible happenings during the era. Lampman even mentioned infamous and famous figures of that time, such as Billy the Kid, Wyat Earp, and Doc Holiday.
Check Your Facts
The one thing that even historical fiction writers have to keep in mind is maintaining accuracy. Writers tend to overlook accuracy for the beauty or the aesthetic of the story. You can never write a one hundred percent accurate story, but keeping it as precise as you can is necessary. Take certain accounts of individuals from historical documents and adds personalities, thoughts, intentions, and minor details into your novel. However, this may take time to research the culture of the period. The accuracy will no doubt reflect on how great the book will come out. Research attitudes, clothing, language structure, events, changes, manners, and the Old West’s lawlessness to get details right. Research nowadays is easy with the internet’s help, but if you want a detailed and thorough query, you can visit local libraries or museums.
Incorporate a Noble Goal
What makes a compelling Old West story is a character’s noble goal. With the lawlessness during that period, a noble goal to create change or obtain justice will make the story interesting. But, why are character goals important? Incorporating a goal in your western fiction novel will keep the story moving as this is what the protagonist will pursue to the very end. Giving the main character a clear goal will keep them driven. It is integral to the character’s development. This noble goal must be strong and established in the early section of the story, or your character motivation will appear lacking and make a weak character arc. In essence, the noble goal has a large part in contributing to the story as it guides plot, character, and conflict.
Clichés are Okay
It is the greatest sin of an author to write cliché. Clichés are overused but at one time might have been original. Moreover, writers believe that clichés do not make the story interesting rather bland and lifeless. They are someone else’s words brought into a new plot. However, in western fiction, clichés are okay at some point. Stereotypical characters and some events are acceptable since you aim to stay true to the facts about the Old West. There is a fine line between stereotypical and authentic in this genre. Hence, spice up your words to bring flavor to the story. Don’t serve old and tired words to the books. Western fiction buffs enjoy a good clichéd character, such as cowboy and outlaw, but add your twist to make them unique to form a compelling plot that works.