The Buckaroo’s Guide to Writing Novel Happiness; or What Better to Give the Silver-Screen Western Hero of Your Life

There is a strong possibility that during 2 a.m. sleepless dreads or after one too many shots of rye alone, your  Silver-Screen Hero can turn into a shaking mass of insecurities.

As for my 2 a.m. dreads, they too easily take the scenario of

  1. I am spending forever writing a novel;
  2. A fatal flaw in me will always keeps me from finishing it;
  3. My inner hero will give up and take a salaried job and never see the light of day again.

Forever. Always. Never. It’s all or nothing for a Silver-Screen Western Hero, or it just seems that way. So two additional words for the Modern Buckaroo’s gift guide: Peppery Action. After all, buck up, big fella. Where would the world be without you? Towns will be overrun by greedy cattle owners, gunslingers will frighten the womenfolk, and what about that helpless girl or guy tied to the railroad track?

So give the gift that doesn’t stop giving–a western novel, the perfect way to sink deeply into fantasy when reality intrudes. (Although is the dread at 2 a.m. more real than one’s ability to write a novel?)

Just when your hero turns into a blanket sodden with tears, give fire and fury. Also comes with handsome, defiant bucko to defend the tousled, nervous blonde that is your hero’s psyche. (Compare with the put-together self-confidence of a Hitchcock heroine.)

Remind your hero that, as Dick Powell and Jane Greer portray below, just as love can be “kindled over a cauldron of hate and murder” (actual interior cover quote), so can the dysfunction that appears at every needed writerly choice actually create novel magic. Hopefully.

And lastly–wait–don’t go, cowboys and cowboyettes!!! I’ll tell you why a nurse genre novel gets on a blog about westerns! Ultimately, succeeding is about being as dewy-eyed optimistic as a romance heroine in an arduous and much-needed profession. After all, if this little paperback below was the book’s sixth printing, surely there is a place in the world for your hero’s labor of novel love.

4 comments to The Buckaroo’s Guide to Writing Novel Happiness; or What Better to Give the Silver-Screen Western Hero of Your Life

  • I love seeing these old covers. There was a bookshop about three stops away from me on the train when I was a kid in the 70s that had all the pulp novels – western, scifi, pornography, spicy detective etc. The windows were crammed full of these kinds of covers piled higher than a 6 or 7 year old kid could see to. Those kinds of bookstores kinda died out over here in the UK in the 80s. I miss them but blog posts like this one remind me of those times when I was innocent enough to look at a yellowed paperback with a busty nurse on the cover and think it was about the medical profession. Another great post Bucko!

  • Sign me up for popcorn or a glass of scotch and soda to know what kind of love is generated over a cauldron of hate and murder. And I find that depending on my state of mind, the silence of 2 am can generate the perfect void to write…and it either comes out flowing in a splendid way or has me wondering if I was asleep when I re-read it. 🙂

  • bucko

    Hey Nuts4r2! Thanks for that image of one of those 1970s bookshops. I lived far from a city and so never saw these things until I started finding them in vintage stores. There is something illicit about these kinds of books–sex and violence, in tame 1950s style–but I would argue also something innocent. Where else can life work out so nicely?

  • bucko

    Alana, what good fortune to be able to get anything done at 2 a.m. The way you describe it, it’s more a magical time than fantastical. And the kind of love generated over a cauldron of hate and murder can’t lead to domestic bliss, I am sure.

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