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Writing Contest #122 The Western

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  • Writing Contest #122 The Western

    You better be quick on the draw because this month’s theme is…

    The Western!!!

    Tell your version of a Western - be it a familiarly stoic Marshall bringing justice to the lawless American Southwest or a team of mutant bandits raiding a lonely Martian outpost – it just needs to feature some common theme of Westerns.

    *Nothing sexual in nature (romantic love scene is OK, but nothing graphic)

    *Nothing Political (or at least real-world politics)

    *1-5 Pages in length

    * No published/franchise characters that you haven't created and own the rights to (public domain characters should be OK - just make sure they're in the public domain)

    * The winner of this contest gets to choose the topic of the next contest.

    DEADLINE: Friday, 20th July 2018

    Writing Blog

  • #2
    Oh man, this should be fun. Good timing too. I binged Godless and read Blood Meridian not too long ago.


    • #3
      Shaun did you read my mind? I already randomly started a western a week ago lol that's eerie maybe you have latent psychic powers or tapped into the collective consciousness.
      Last edited by j50500077; 06-15-2018, 08:34 PM. Reason: spelling


      • #4
        Glad everyone is liking this month's theme. And yes, I am psychic and boy does everyone here have a lot of explaining to do!
        Writing Blog


        • #5
          Fools Gold

          Have gone for a post-apocalyptic western and back to the town of Clearwater for it. This is the third Dead Turkey story. Will post links to the other two shortly.


          The desert town of Clearwater in the Alabama Badlands. This is the post apocalypse, it is an arid, dusty run-down end of the road dump in the middle of nowhere. The town is made up of a few repurposed shipping crates and one or two ramshackle buildings ( Fyrestone from the game Borderlands is a decent reference for it ).

          We’re just outside the town and can see a badly battered sign just outside the town with the name “Clearwater” hastily painted on it.

          Below that is a sign with “Population”, a tacked on sheet of dirty board with a “17” then “% human” ( the number fluctuates, and looks more like a days since last accident sign than anything else ).

          It is the middle of the day and clearly very very hot, there is nobody moving.

          Caption: Clearwater, Alabama Badlands 134 PT*

          Caption: * Post Turning**

          Caption: ** When the World Turned and went down the wrong path.


          We’re outside an old corporate shipping container turned into a bar called “Chucks” ( painted over the door ). The bar has old western style doors leading into outside Lucy is meeting Chuck as she is about to enter.

          Lucy is a hard worn woman of middle years with short blonde hair. She wears “sensible” clothes, carries a shot gun and has a determined look on her face. This is not a woman that even an idiot would mess with. She is being met at the door by Chuck ( an overweight dirty/scruffy man with a bar apron and cyborg arm ).

          Chuck: Looking for the Sheriff Ms Lucy?

          Lucy: Hell no! I’d only be looking for him if I didn’t know where he was Chuck.


          In the background Chuck is holding the door open for Lucy. Lucy. Lucy stands in silhouette, her body language suggesting she is pretty pissed off and dangerous.

          In our immediate foreground we have Sheriff Holden, snoring loudly at a table. There is an empty bottle of Dead Turkey whiskey and overflowing ashtray on the table before him. The interior of the bar is dingy and any other patrons are just as grubby and have various cheap and battered cybernetic appendages and implants.

          Sherriff Holden is a large grizzled man in his 50s. He has overgrown handlebar/muttonchops style whiskers, is wearing a string vest and bears many scars and a military looking tattoo. Despite his unhealthy habits, he is well muscled and not someone to annoy lightly.

          Chuck: Well there he is.

          SFX: SNOOOOOOORE!!!!


          Lucy kicking the Sherriff awake, she is not being gentle

          Lucy: Geddup Sheriff! There’s a problem at the mine.

          SFX: SNOOR…!???


          A bleary-eyed Sheriff looking at an unsympathetic Lucy, if we can see Chuck he is busy trying not to be seen looking or laughing and failing miserably.

          Holden: That damn mine has been closed for years.

          Lucy: That’s the problem. Some fool has opened it.


          We’re looking through a pair of high tech goggles at the mine. Overlay some technical/range type data on the display please.
          The mine itself is a cave in the side of a barren hill, with broken boards around the entrance. A few poorly written and misspelt/dyslexic signs can be seen around it with “Mine”, “Dangr”, “Keep Out” etc..

          We can also see three heavy vehicles ( not quite mad max style, there is money backing these guys but they should look dusty/worn ), at least one of which looks like it is being used as an office. Throw in a few cyborg type mercenaries standing guard. Post apocalypse cyborg mercenaries with varying degrees of weaponry and augmentation. They look reasonably professional without being special forces.

          Important: A mutant buzzard ( Deputy Andy from the last story ) is circling the camp. Andy looks like he needn’t wait for anything to die before he eats it, and probably doesn’t.

          Also Important: We have a few, long since, burnt out wrecks of similar vehicles nearby.

          Holden(oos): Damnation!


          Holden, holding dusty/worn/battered binoculars just in front of him as he eyes the scene with the mark 1 eyeball. He is wearing a cowboy hat and long duster style jacket ( although we probably can’t see all of that yet ) and has a kerchief around his neck. Squinting in the sun he looks angry.

          Holden: Well?

          Andy(oos): Looks like them fellers are re-opening the mine just like Lucy said.


          Holding is letting the goggles hang from his neck and unlimbering his rifle ( no ostentation and despite the battered look of everything else, we can tell this thing is well cared for and it looks brutally dangerous ). He is sitting on his bike ( a cross between a Lawmaster and something from Mad Max, with plenty of weapons stored in easy reach ). Andy is flapping up to join him.

          Holden: Any idea who’s opening the mine?

          Andy: Sheesh yeah Sherriff. Them fellers down there is who.


          Holden giving Andy a disgusted stare. Andy being proud of himself.


          Holden setting out on his bike, rifle held in one hand, Andy flying beside him.

          Holden: Guess we’ll have to find out the old-fashioned way then.


          Two heavily armed cyborg guards at the mine taking aim as we can see Holden roaring towards them.

          Borg1(shout): Private property

          Borg2(shout): We will shoot


          Holden on his bike, kicking one of the borgs as he passes. The other borg jumping out of the way

          Holden: Damn Straight this is private property and you fellas are trespassing

          Borg getting kicked: Ooof!


          The remaining Borg about to shoot at Holden’s back, Holden heading on towards the vehicles


          Andy attacking him from behind with nasty looking talons

          Borg: Arrghghg!


          Holden pulled up, rifle in one hand, dust cloud rising, in front of the mine.

          Facing him are several armed borgs aiming at him with heavy weapons and an exec type ( Arthurs ) holding a piece of paper. Arthurs is a bit of a cliché, notably skinner/smaller than the borgs with pince nez sunglasses, a small moustache and a rumpled suit.

          Arthurs: Ah Sheriff Holden I presume


          Arthurs handing over his paper to Holden, the Borgs are still pointing their guns at him. We can see Andy approaching in the background

          Holden: You boys ain’t supposed to be here.

          Arthurs: Draco mining went into debt over unpaid corporate taxes. We’ve bought them out and are seizing their assets.


          Holden reviewing the paper closely, a look of disgust on his face

          Holden: Huh. Three dollars? This is claim jumping bullshit and you know it.


          Arthurs walking off, the mercs/borgs moved in on an annoyed Holden

          Arthurs: Its legal. Now get off my property Sheriff.


          Arthurs in one of the vehicles that works as an office. There is a Sargent type with him ( borg/merc ), Aimes. We should have a few survey maps and mining paraphernalia.

          Arthurs: It won’t take him long to work out that our “buyout” ain’t exactly legal. Where are we?

          Aimes: Well it’s odd. All the gold is in the one location. We’re blasting through to it now. Should have it out and all loaded up in a few hours.


          Holden back to watching the mine, Andy on a dead tree behind him in classic vulture pose.

          Andy: You gonna let them get away with it Sheriff?

          Holden: I held up my end of the deal Andy. I tried running them off. The rest is up to Cletus.

          SFX: Rumble

          We can see ( through Holden’s goggles ) the mercs and Arthurs running in terror from the mine. They’re burnt/smoking, maybe one or two firing back as they flee.


          Same as P1, except Andy is looking towards the mine in awe, Holden looking mildly satisfied.

          Andy: Wow! He done growed!

          Holden: It’s all that sleeping he does between eating claim hoppers.


          Holden and Andy slowly making their way from their watch point. Smoke rising behind them ( we cannot see the mine ). Andy looking back as he flies.

          Andy: How many claim hoppers he ate?

          Holden: Dunno. Cletus made sure the survey records were easily accessible back in the city, so we get this every few years. Saves him having to hunt up meals between naps so it works for everyone.


          We can see the mine. A large dragon ( Cletus ) is mopping up the mercs and their boss. There is no doubt about their fate.
          Diary of a Super Fiend

          Collected Zepster


          • #6
            Fun story, Zep! I'd love to see this one drawn. There were a few typos that a second read would've caught but it wasn't anything that effected the story. I did think Lucy was going to be a bigger part of the story given her introduction. I almost wonder if there isn't a way you could've foreshadowed Cletus as well. Maybe somebody mentions that Cletus is going to be waking up soon and the townsfolk are concerned. Then, in the last panel, we realize why. But it's a strong story on it's own as is. Good work.
            Writing Blog


            • #7
              Originally posted by Shaun View Post
              Fun story, Zep! I'd love to see this one drawn. There were a few typos that a second read would've caught but it wasn't anything that effected the story. I did think Lucy was going to be a bigger part of the story given her introduction. I almost wonder if there isn't a way you could've foreshadowed Cletus as well. Maybe somebody mentions that Cletus is going to be waking up soon and the townsfolk are concerned. Then, in the last panel, we realize why. But it's a strong story on it's own as is. Good work.
              Thanks Shaun - Ack hate typos. I'll track them down.

              Lucy - Lucy starred in the last Dead Turkey story, so she got the attention on the back of that. I don't want the whole thing centred around Holden, so am trying to give everyone a little bit of space. In retrospect I could probably have saved some space there but I did need Holden becoming aware of the problem at the mine, while also introducing the town being an out of the way dump.

              On Cletus - Yeah I worried about that too ( actually thought that calling the mining company "Draco" mining was giving too much away ). I wanted to get more on the "Deal" in as well ( basically Cletus leaves the town alone once claim jumpers are his - which is technically legal as it is his property. Holden's end is to keep casual interlopers away and generally not make too much of a fuss over Cletus in general ). Problem was that every time I tried getting something in it became an info dump. Extra pages would have helped but in general the 5 page limit is good for keeping things tight, so its good to get the feedback on where that works and doesn't.

              Thanks again.

              Diary of a Super Fiend

              Collected Zepster


              • #8
                A post-apocalyptic gritty western with cyborgs and a dragon...I love this site. I really enjoyed this world and would definitely read the other stories.
                Originally posted by Zepster View Post

                Lucy - Lucy starred in the last Dead Turkey story, so she got the attention on the back of that. I don't want the whole thing centred around Holden, so am trying to give everyone a little bit of space.
                Just a thought, but maybe all it would take would be to have her accompany them to the mine. Possibly watching over Holden's back with a sniper rifle or something so she's present without becoming the focus.

                Problem was that every time I tried getting something in it became an info dump. Extra pages would have helped but in general the 5 page limit is good for keeping things tight, so its good to get the feedback on where that works and doesn't
                I used to think 5 pages was pretty much a Homeric epic until I started trying to write. It's like there's one tiny piece of backstory I need, but it would l take a full page to get it out without resorting to "As you all know..." On this challenge I've already bailed on a couple ideas that I found out needed more than 5 pages once I started outlining them.

                Great story. Post those other links when you get a chance.


                • #9
                  Banquet of Consequence

                  Night. A worms-eye view wide shot on a crappy Western main drag focused on a nondescript saloon. The street is deserted except for ten or so horses tied near the saloon. The shot is over the top of a body in the immediate foreground with a sheriff’s badge clearly visible. Nothing graphic, just establishing there’s an element of lawlessness about.

                  A shot of the interior of the saloon. It’s dimly lit by a few oil lamps and not much more than a room with a few tables and a bar on the back wall. There are a half dozen or so rough-looking men spread around a couple tables near the bar carousing. There are tables, chairs, bottles, glasses, etc. scattered about along with a body here and there. Leaning against the bar casually surveying the scene is the most imposing looking of the men. He’s significantly older and clearly the boss. He’s wearing a dirty crumpled hat and a long filthy duster. Next to him still seated on a stool but collapsed onto the bar is a dead saloon patron.

                  Zoom in closer to the boss.

                  Caption – The Boss
                  “I’m getting too old for this shit.”

                  The boss looks over at the dead man next to him slumped over the bar. There’s a newspaper partly visible on the bar underneath him.

                  Caption – The Boss
                  “The world’s changin’.”

                  The boss unceremoniously pushing the dead man off the chair to get a better look at the paper.

                  Caption – The Boss
                  “And not for the better.”

                  A small inset panel to establish the boss is reading the paper from the previous page.

                  A close-up on one of the stories in the blood-specked paper with the headline: “Mad Jack McKane Slaughters Eight During Bank Robbery”

                  Caption – The Boss
                  “Got these upstarts that ain’t any better’n savages.”
                  “No code.”
                  “No respect for nothin’.”

                  A view of another story in the paper with the headline: “U.S. Calvary Set to Restore Order to Territories”

                  Caption – The Boss
                  “And I can’t spit without hittin' a lawman or some other asshole tryin’ to kill me.”
                  “If it ain’t the sheriffs it’s the marshals. The Pinkertons. The Federales. Those so-called Vigilance Committees.”
                  “And now I gotta dodge the army?”

                  The boss is watching as two men start brawling at one of the tables.

                  Caption – The Boss
                  “And with this lot watching my back…”

                  The boss turns back to the bar and is pouring a drink.

                  Caption – The Boss
                  “…it’s only a matter of time before somthin’ I done’s gonna come back and bite me in the ass.”

                  The boss freezes with the drink halfway to his mouth.

                  Text from off-panel. Indicate shouting.
                  “YOU HARLAN BECK?!”

                  Caption – The Boss
                  “Is this it?”

                  A wiry kid, maybe not even 18, is standing in an exaggerated gun-fighter’s pose with arms wide and hands open. He’s wearing two giant pistols on ill-fitting belts. He’s wearing suspenders over a buttoned up dingy white long john shirt. His floppy hat is hanging by the string around his neck.

                  The Kid
                  “I said are you Harlan Beck!?”

                  Close-up on the boss looking a little amused.

                  Caption – The Boss
                  “This ain’t it”

                  The boss back to being relaxed leaning against the bar with drink in hand.

                  The Boss
                  “Who’s lookin’?”

                  Looking over the boss’s shoulder at the kid who is still posed. His men half paying attention and amused by the exchange.

                  The Kid
                  “Was it you and your boys run through Clark County about ten years back?”

                  The Boss
                  “Sounds like somethin’ I might have done.”
                  “You gotta point?”

                  Looking from behind the kid at the boss who is looking more serious and sneering. His men are laughing in the background.

                  The Kid
                  “Was it you that raided the Harper ranch? Strung up James Harper and his wife?”

                  The Boss
                  “Now that definitely sounds likes somethin’ I might have done.”


                  A shot of the boss. He’s not leaning on the bar anymore and he’s starting to look agitated.

                  The Kid – Off-Panel
                  “You killed their oldest boy?”

                  The Boss
                  “Best get to it, son.”

                  A front view of the kid still tense and very serious.

                  The Kid
                  “D’you know they had another boy?”
                  “A younger…” (he’s cut off)

                  The Boss – Off-Panel
                  “Let me stop you right there!”

                  A full shot of the boss angry with his coat pulled back so he can reach his gun.

                  The Boss
                  “You’re wearin’ on my last nerve so let’s cut to the chase, son!”
                  “So I hit that ranch and left you a little sad-ass orphan boy and now you think you’re all grown up and come to kill me?”

                  Zooming in to the now very angry face of the boss.

                  The Boss
                  “Well, I got news for you.”
                  “I been runnin’ crews a long time and there’s loads of bastards and orphans and the likes of you gunnin’ for me.”
                  “But if you think you’re the one to do somethin’ about it…”
                  “…then do something.”

                  The kid smiling and waving his hands.

                  The Kid
                  “No no no.”
                  “You got me wrong.”
                  “I’m not that little orphaned Harper boy.”
                  “But he’s grown now and sold that ranch to fund the particular venture I’m currently undertakin’.”

                  Close-up on the kids face looking menacing now.

                  The Kid
                  “See, folks have takin’ to callin’ me Mad Jack McKane…”

                  Inset panel with close-up on the boss’s eyes raised in alarm.

                  Caption – The Boss

                  A shot of the kid’s face looking evil. We can see his hand in the background sliding a deadbolt on the door behind him.


                  The Kid
                  “…and I’m about to kill the lot of you.”

                  A bird’s-eye exterior of the saloon with flashes of light in the windows and a bunch of holes appearing everywhere from bullets and shotgun blasts.

                  Lots of sound effects for a massive gunfight.

                  The same view but all is dark and quiet.

                  The kid is sitting on a chair leaning on his knees looking down casually loading one of his giant guns. There are bodies strewn about around him.

                  The Kid
                  “Your crew can’t shoot for shit.”
                  “A pretty sorry bunch if you ask me.”

                  The boss lying down with his head propped against the bar. His gun is nearby but he’s been shot and is clearly not in good shape.

                  The Boss
                  “Didn’t nobody ask you.”
                  “But, I was just thinkin’ the same thing myself.”

                  The carefree kid is and done reloading and has his hands on his knees ready to stand up. The boss is still slumped.

                  The Kid
                  “Well, I better be off.”
                  “Best not keep my employer waiting.”

                  The Boss
                  “You tell that son-of-a-bitch I ain’t sorry for what I done.”

                  A close up on the kid’s face chuckling.

                  The Kid
                  “But, he didn’t pay me to make you sorry...”

                  The boss’s view looking up the barrel of the gun at the kid.

                  The Kid
                  “…he paid me to make you dead.”


                  • #10
                    Great stories so far.
                    I wrote a Zorro story after reading a blog that talked about how Zorro and Buck Rodgers had slipped into public domain, but then last night I went on Wikipedia to double check the copyright issue. I found out that there has been a ongoing dispute with a company claiming rights to all likenesses of Zorro. Specifically a man wrote a musical about Zorro in 1996 and has been consistently beat in court by this company with a flimsy claim to the rights to Zorro. I just thought this interesting enough to share here. I guess I'm headed back to my original idea.


                    • #11
                      If you want to make some small tweaks to the Zorro story (ie Toro instead of Zorro) it'd probably be alright. But maybe the original idea is even better!

                      And for the rest of you.....

                      Writing Blog


                      • #12
                        Does anyone else experience that some stories just flow out in an afternoon and some are like passing a kidney stone?


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by j50500077 View Post
                          Does anyone else experience that some stories just flow out in an afternoon and some are like passing a kidney stone?
                          Yup! I've passed more than a few stones. But I've found it's not always indicative of the quality of the story; some of the tougher ones to create get love and some that flowed out fall flat. For me the struggle comes when I'm writing characters or situations that are outside my comfort zone.
                          Writing Blog


                          • #14

                            Sprice - “Banquet of Consequence”

                            Really fun story. Good twist that actually made sense within the story rather than a twist for the sake of it. I like the pacing, really felt cinematic and like you would see from a Western. Ideally you could’ve set up the idea of Mad Jack sooner and in scene rather than through a newspaper insert. It would make the ending resonate more and the twist even more of a surprise.

                            Technically I caught a few multiple actions called for in a single panel. The biggest offenders being on 2.5 (if the artist draws him turning while pouring a drink it might look weird) and on 5.1 (There can’t be flashes of light in a still panel. Nor can holes appear).

                            Overall this is a really strong piece!
                            Writing Blog


                            • #15
                              ONE DAY REMAINING!!!

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