I’ve been invited to write a western short story. Well, me and about a million other people. Bret Cogburn, http://www.brettcogburn.com/ western writer, is having a western short story contest. It is not his first. He invited members of the Oklahoma Writer’s Federation, Inc. to enter his contest last year. The contest was a four-sentence western. Winners would have their name and “flash fiction” published in the back of his latest book and I was one of the winners. I have not seen the book so I can only assume my story has a place in the latest publication, but obviously I now have a place on his email list.
I received an email from him this week (maybe you did too?) stating he was having another contest. This one was a little longer – a western short story anywhere from 10 to 30 pages long. He also called me a “bad ass writer” (well me and the other people on his email list, but I am sure it was directed at me). Evidently that is all it takes for me. The cogs started turning and I began to formulate a short story in my mind.
I don’t normally write westerns, but a discussion has been making the rounds on OWFI about whether or not to use pen names for different genres. I said I would continue to use my own name for whatever genre I wrote and there were others who stated they used different names and why. But, I still like to try new genres now and then. So, maybe it is time I tried westerns just for fun.
My story will probably have a female protagonist, most of them do (I wonder why?). But I have some ideas popping up in my head. I think I’ll use the idea from my four-sentence western and develop it a little more.
Here is what won the first contest – my very short western:
The sharp pain in her belly hit again stopping her from chopping the weeds from around the cotton. The oldest rode to get the mid-wife, but she hoped to finish the row before she had to quit. The stew, bubbling over the fire helped to warm the rising bread. Dinner would be ready when he came in from branding.
The American west was a tough time for women and men and even children. People were tough or they would not survive. I don’t know if I would have made it to adulthood. But it can make for some interesting story telling.
Wish me luck with the next western story that will be a little longer than the first.