Et tu, Cimarron?; or More Rules for Epic Westerns

As I was saying before paying work and Valentine’s Day and the call of the West in the form of watching The Stalking Moon, starring Gregory “Awesome Gimlet-Eye” Peck, epic westerns aren’t my cuppa tea. Or joe.

I’d just finished spinning my snark about epic westerns in an earlier post when Nuts4r2 “Awesome Gimlet-eyed Film Reviewer” called . . . → Read More: Et tu, Cimarron?; or More Rules for Epic Westerns

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 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

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

Rules for a Successful Showdown; or, Staying Cool and Looking Hot

Rule #1 for a successful showdown:

You have to be cool, as in gimlet-eyed, emotions-in-check, stone-cold control. Do not speak wildly, spittle flying into everyone’s faces, and do not drag children, animals, or siblings into your altercation (as Brockie does his sister, Jessica Drummond, in Forty Guns).

Little Brockie Drummond is only throwing a tantrum here.

Note . . . → Read More: Rules for a Successful Showdown; or, Staying Cool and Looking Hot

Wild Western Whiskey; or, How to Drink Like a Cowboy (Without Getting Tossed Through a Window)

The buzz of saloon drinkers. The plunkity plunk of a piano. The clink of coins at the card table. Then a hush falls. Silence.

Slow, heavy  footfalls sound, with a chiiing chiiing trailing each step. A pause. A creak, a thwap of the batwing doors and the gunslinger/sheriff/cowboy approaches the bar. Not a rustle is heard. The gunslinger . . . → Read More: Wild Western Whiskey; or, How to Drink Like a Cowboy (Without Getting Tossed Through a Window)

Trying Hard to Sound like Gary Cooper; or, How to Talk Super-Dooper

The quintessential taciturn cowboy, lanky yet graceful, was branded “Gary Cooper” by the 1929 film The Virginian. The son of  a Montana rancher, the Coop could ride as soon as he could walk. Born Frank James Cooper, he changed his name per a casting director’s advice to “Gary,” which she thought would sound more rugged, like . . . → Read More: Trying Hard to Sound like Gary Cooper; or, How to Talk Super-Dooper

Novel High Noon Approaching; or, Gary Cooper as Seen Through the Eyes of…

I’m revising a novel at a sprint now, so some days will be bloggier than others! Not to worry–my famed western how-tos on achieving happiness through following the filmsteps of silver-screen western hero Gary Cooper’s Virginian will return tomorrow. Just keep practicing those squints and stares and epic pauses, y’hear?

As author Paul Green commented, when . . . → Read More: Novel High Noon Approaching; or, Gary Cooper as Seen Through the Eyes of…