Category Archives: Dimensions of the Wild West

Writers Unite! Anthologies: Dimensions of the Wild West

Writers Unite! Anthologies

Dimensions of the Wild West

Available NOW on Amazon. com!

Cowboys on dusty trails. Cattle drives. Bank robbers and sheriffs. Whether riding a horse in the old West, a pickup truck in present day, or a mining transport on an asteroid, good fought evil, and tales of the West continued. Enjoy this collection of stories from the authors of Writers Unite! as they take you from the old West into the future.

Writers Unite! anthologies: Dimensions of the Wild West Volumes One & Two

WRITERS UNITE! ANTHOLOGIES

DIMENSIONS OF THE WILD WEST
Volumes One and Two

Cowboys on dusty trails. Cattle drives. Bank robbers and sheriffs. Whether riding a horse in the old West, a pickup truck in present day, or a mining transport on an asteroid, good fought evil, and tales of the West continued. Enjoy this collection of stories from the authors of Writers Unite! as they take you from the old West into the future.

–Dimensions of the Wild West cover

Preorder eBooks now on Amazon.com!

eBooks and paperbacks available on April 20, 2021

Volume One: https://amzn.to/3sAGHOY
Volume Two: https://amzn.to/3gqKZ9w

WU! Anthology: Dimensions of the Wild West!

Dimensions of the Wild West!

Submissions Close on November 15, 2020

You have less than a week to get your Western on! Once again, the WU! members astound us. You can write anything and write it well!!! Great stories!!!


Guidelines here! https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ImJqsZ-6XBBYGBcz0BY0kfsifE7cTzNFCoNusU8vJyI/edit?usp=sharing

Writers Unite! Workshop: The Western (Part One)

Writers Unite! Workshop

The Western

Part One

Mention the word “western,” and images of cowboys and sheriffs, shootouts and posses, and a saloon, cattle drive, or stagecoach come to mind—nothing like the wild, wild west.

The western genre appeared during the late 19th Century when the exploits of citizens moving west into the American frontier became the subject of the ‘penny dreadfuls’ and dime novels that fictionalize tales of real people such as Billy the Kidd, Wyatt Earp, and Jessie James. Interest in western tales inspired by James Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking novels and his best-known novel in the series, The Last of the Mohicans, grew to enormous popularity.

The success of the novel, The Virginian by Owen Wister, published in 1902, led to the rise of well-known authors Zane Grey, Louis L’Amour, and Larry McMurtry. Present-day western authors such as Ace Atkins, Craig Johnson, and the late Tony Hillerman, whose daughter Anne continues the sagas of Navajo Tribal Police Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, and Sergeant Jim Cree are best-selling authors.

Definition of Western Genre: 

Westerns are stories usually set in western North America, most often west of the Mississippi River and during the latter half of the 19th century. Common themes include honor, justice, survival, revenge, and redemption. The main characters are cowboys, scouts, Indians, traders, pioneers, and lawmen, among others.

Classic Characteristics of a Western:

  • Wide-open spaces of the western United States
  • Cowboys
  • Lawmen: sheriffs, US. Marshals
  • Bad guys such as evil land barons, robbers, gunslingers
  • Native Americans
  • Settlers
  • Wagon trains, stagecoaches, trains
  • Mining
  • Cattle ranches and cattle drives
  • Saloons, barkeeps, saloon girls
  • Gambling
  • Shootouts, train and bank robberies
  • Period set between the American Civil War and early 1900s

Western Themes:

  • Morality — Good vs. Evil
  • Revenge
  • Coming of age
  • Love
  • Survival
  • Prejudice
  • Courage

Traditional Western Subgenres:

  • Australian – This sub-genre is a rare exception to the ‘time and place’ bounds of the genre and instead settles in Australia’s vast outback.
  • Black Cowboy (buffalo soldier) – These westerns feature a protagonist of color. Historians say the actual frontier was relatively colorblind.
  • Bounty Hunter – This sub-genre centers upon these morally ambiguous characters.
  • Civil War – Some battles during the war were fought as far west as New Mexico. After the war, the Blue/Gray bitterness throughout the frontier.
  • Cowpunk – A subgenre that derives its name (and irreverent tone) from science fiction’s ‘cyberpunk.’ (Wild, Wild West, anyone???)
  • Doctor and Preacher – Two types of protagonists in this subgenre. These lead characters are committed to peace and healing in an often violent environment.
  • Gunfighter – The iconic western subgenre. Often a ‘white hat’ protagonist reluctantly agrees to go up against a cruel ‘black hat’ villain (whether an outright criminal or a corrupt VIP) on behalf of oppressed settlers. 
  • Indian wars – This is a dominant subgenre. They are usually accurate, in a historical sense, and will also reflect the worldview of the author. 
  • Land Rush – Usually focused on Oklahoma or a few similar events in which vast tracts of land opened to homesteading – whether the resident Indians liked it or not.
  • Lawmen (Texas Rangers) – This subgenre centers around the honest lawmen who brought order and justice to the wild frontier. Often the protagonist is or is based upon an actual person.
  • Outlaw – Westerns that focus on the black hats, the colorful villains of that era.
  • Railroad – Stories center upon a titanic project: the bridging of the east and west coasts by the Central Pacific and Union Pacific lines.
  • Revenge – These westerns are a relatively dark subgenre. A determined protagonist, often a young survivor of some cruel massacre, goes after the perpetrators.
  • Romance – An overlapping subgenre, which features such a relationship, but in the format of a ‘western’ novel. 
  • Sheep – Range wars between cattle and sheep ranchers.
  • Town Tamer – A lone gunman, or sometimes a group of friends, take on the corrupt leadership of an isolated town, and risk their lives to bring freedom.
  • Wagon Train – These westerns are an archetypal subgenre. The Oregon Trail was the interstate highway of its era, with lumbering Conestoga wagons and hardships that were often extreme.
  • Women – Female protagonists lead this subgenre. Some tales idealize their courage and triumphs, as with the real-life Annie Oakley. Opposite this, Dorothy Scarborough’s 1925 novel The Wind is a harsh depiction of a young woman’s life in frontier west Texas. (So harsh that Texan leaders protested.)

Non-traditional Western Subgenres:

  • Fantasy – Combining magic and magical creatures in a western is not as prevalent in westerns but do exist. The level of magic may range from everyday use by citizens to strangers with magical powers.
  • Science-Fiction – While an unlikely combination, science fiction can combine with western themes. The film “Cowboys and Aliens” from 2011 merged the two genres well, with aliens in the Old West. The movie “Outland” from 1981 has been described as a space western which is a subgenre of the science fiction genre and uses the themes and tropes of the western genre.
  • Paranormal – Ghosts, angels and demons, vampires, werewolves, and the occasional Sasquatch appear in these stories.
  • Horror – The element of fear is what sets this genre aside and often combine the paranormal genre with horror in a western setting.
  • Mystery – Think Pinkerton,stagecoach, and bank robberies, stealing mine claims, along with good old-fashioned murder. Central characters are sheriffs, deputies, US. Marshals, government investigators, and detectives from Pinkerton, including a female detective.

Revisionist Western Subgenre: 

During the 1960s, westerns took on a different tone. They became dark and sinister, with more violence than a traditional western where morals such as good and evil were clear cut. A revisionist western often portrayed the hero as more of an anti-hero, and the division of good and evil blurred. Many movies, so-called “spaghetti westerns,” dealt with deeper issues and different values.

Neo-western Subgenre:

The neo-western is set in present day and carries the themes of a traditional western—a high moral code, good and evil are clear. Characters and settings are often the same, but modern sensibilities are applied to the story. Often, the hero feels out of place as some consider the code they live by as old-fashioned. The Longmire series by Craig Johnson is an excellent example of the genre.

Next:

Characters, Setting, and The Importance of Research

Resources:

Agnew, Jeremy. December 2, 2014. The Creation of the Cowboy Hero: Fiction, Film and Fact, p. 88, McFarland. ISBN 978-0786478392
Masterclass: Western Genre    https://bit.ly/3hIwMSA http://www.cuebon.com/ewriters/Wsubgenres.htmlhttp://bestfantasybooks.com/weird-west-fantasy.html
Brophy, Philip (1987). “Rewritten Westerns: Rewired Westerns”. Stuffing. No. 1. Melbourne. Retrieved 2014-09-01.

Please note: the images used are free-use images and do not require attribution.

Announcing Writers Unite!’s sixth anthology volume.  We invite all writers of westerns or any writers interested in the western genre to submit a story to our Dimensions of The Wild West anthology.

If you are interested in submission, you must be a member of Writers Unite! on Facebook.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/145324212487752/
If you have questions, please email writersunite16@gmail.com

Link to Guidelines for the Dimensions of the Wild Westhttps://bit.ly/3fh7zgr

Writers Unite! Anthologies: Dimensions of the Wild West

Welcome to Writers Unite!’s sixth anthology volume.  We invite all writers of westerns or any writers interested in the western genre to submit a story to our Dimensions of The Wild West anthology.

Ah… the western… say the word and cowboys and horses and saloons are the images you recall. The traditional western contains several expected components and themes—good vs. evil, bad guy redeeming himself, sheriff fighting off the bad guys threatening his town are among them. The tropes abound. While traditionally, the period for westerns is between the late 1800s and early 1900s, a resurgence of the western has found its way into present day.

A new sub-genre, the neo-western, has gained popularity. We will post a workshop about the western genre this week, beginning today, and we will discuss the neo-western in more detail. This sub-genre takes the characteristics of a western, its themes, characters, and locations but placed in a modern-day setting. Also remember, the sub-genres are plentiful. You can write a romance (a lot of western romance novels happen in present-day), paranormal, thriller, science fiction, or a good old train robbery. You may set your story in the old west or the modern-day west. Your character can ride a horse and wear a Stetson or drive a Cadillac and wear a Stetson (or not) and take place in the western US or the western Australian Outback, but we will require these genre components.

  • Western location
  • Western theme
  • Characters based on the standards in the genre

If you are interested in submission, you must be a member of Writers Unite! on Facebook.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/145324212487752/
If you have questions, please email writersunite16@gmail.com.

Submission information:  

  • Submissions open on August 1, 2020, at Noon EDT
  • Submissions close on November 15, 2020 at 11: 59 pm EDT
  • All stories must be emailed to the Publisher at writersunite16@gmail.com
  • Please type “Wild West Submission” plus your name and the story title in the subject line. Each story submission must be in a separate email.

Link to Guidelines for the Dimensions of the Wild West: https://bit.ly/3fh7zgr

We are providing extended time for submissions as this Is a genre that is regaining its popularity. Please note: The publisher will begin work on this anthology after January 1, 2021 when the selection committee will review the submissions for inclusion. Publication expected in early Spring 2021.