The Way of the Novel; or, Cowboy Up and Write Already

Writing a novel is not for the common mortal. And I have been all too mortal these days. Too whiney. Too morose. Too passive. Just like the hero of my novel (or so I’ve heard from my ever-patient agent). The End. Ho hum.

Or have I been pressed to set the novel-in-progress . . . → Read More: The Way of the Novel; or, Cowboy Up and Write Already

The Simple Western Things in Life; or, What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do

What to do when villainy threatens from every side? When decisions become do-or-die cliffhangers? When walls close in and chasms yawn wide?

Focus on the beautiful things.

The very beautiful things.

The extremely very beautiful things.

The perfectly awesomely epic beautiful (very) sort of things. Like Tom Mix’s gimlet eyes. And Roy Rogers’s . . . → Read More: The Simple Western Things in Life; or, What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do

The Reality of Cliffhangers; or, Real-Life Versions for Real-Life People

Reel-life cliffhangers in western serials run a narrow range. But cliffhangers in real life are much more subtle, devious, and hair-raising. Cue exclamation points here, and lots of them.

IN REEL LIFE:

A wagon hurtles over a cliff! (Don’t fret: The hero will jump off in the nick of time.)

A powder . . . → Read More: The Reality of Cliffhangers; or, Real-Life Versions for Real-Life People

Get Your Heroic Story Arc On; or, The Teachable Moments of Cliffhangers

It’s one of the hoariest cliches of westerns known to humankind: the cliffhanger. You know, the dramatic end of the episode when the good guy faces certain death and hangs from a cliff/is trapped in a room with a powderkeg’s lit fuse/is about to be eaten by mountain lions, only to save himself against all odds . . . → Read More: Get Your Heroic Story Arc On; or, The Teachable Moments of Cliffhangers

Music and the Western; or, The New West’s Bittersweet Lesson

The stirring, swelling strains of Cimarron (1960), directed by Anthony Mann, music by Franz Waxman, make me want to chop wood and haul water and ride fast horses over wide plains and watch over cattle in the cold moonlight night and sweep a woman into my arms. It’s that insidious. This score would trick anyone into becoming . . . → Read More: Music and the Western; or, The New West’s Bittersweet Lesson

A Happy New Year from Cowboylands; or, We All Have a Flaming Star So Get Going!

May 2011 be sparkly bright, dear readers and bloggers way out in the Wild Western Web, in my hometown in western PA (and you too, WV), NYC bloggers and dear friends, and FB cyberpals and Twitter cybertrail buddies…

May it be as bright as Graceland’s crystal chandelier

As big as Graceland’s hall of . . . → Read More: A Happy New Year from Cowboylands; or, We All Have a Flaming Star So Get Going!

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

I am spending forever writing a novel;
A fatal flaw in me will always keeps . . . → Read More: The Buckaroo’s Guide to Writing Novel Happiness; or What Better to Give the Silver-Screen Western Hero of Your Life

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

Two words: Special Features.

If your Silver-Screen Western Hero wanna-be has a New Year’s resolution that entails

learning to kick miscreant butt in showdowns
wearing spurs that jingle, jangle, jingle
eating calf nuts on the range in between cattle drives and drinking bad rye in shot-up saloons (whee!)

then he or she is going to need a go-to pick-me-up for those . . . → Read More: The Modern Buckaroo’s Guide to Happiness; or What Else to Give the Silver-Screen Western Hero of Your Life

One’s All You Need; or, Shane’s Successful Showdown Advice

Control your arsenal at all times.

Just as real-life sharpshooters should be aware of the number of bullets (think of Dirty Harry’s classic line that foiled the Scorpio Killer: “I know what you’re thinking. ‘Did he fire six shots or only five?’”), a Silver-Screen Western Hero wannabe knows the quantity and quality of his or her . . . → Read More: One’s All You Need; or, Shane’s Successful Showdown Advice

Don’t Just Be Cool, Stay Cool; or, Jimmy Ringo’s Showdown Tips

A Silver-Screen Western hero never goes off half-cocked, meaning, in a metaphorical way, that one’s hammer, or firing pin, which you had thought you’d set at half-cock to keep your metaphorical gun from firing, fails just when don’t want it to, and your misplaced or uncontrolled rage shoots you in the foot, leg, your prize-winning cow . . . → Read More: Don’t Just Be Cool, Stay Cool; or, Jimmy Ringo’s Showdown Tips