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August 17th, 2005, 01:19 AM

I have been working on a retelling of the Iliad in a fabulist (industrial fantasy?) setting. I have poured lots nad lots of notes into it. Lots of blood, sweat, tears, and all sorts of other cliches. I got about 20k words into it and, bang! hit a wall.

I couldn't do anything more than noodle around with what I already had. Although I had a broad (very broad) outline of the plot, so many scenes were missing. The characters weren't listening. The plot wasn't listening. The setting wasn't listening.

Turns out, I wasn't listening. This story wants to be a Western. Not sci-fi. Not fantasy. Not China Meiville-light. A Western. I have been subconsciously fighting against that for months now. I don't really read much in the way of Westerns.

So, while I will be able to salvage chunks of plot, the great Fabulist epic that I had hoped to write is dead. Long live the Western! The lesson I learned the hard way is to always listen to your story. It knows more about itself than you do.


St. Rapier
August 17th, 2005, 06:08 PM
The Iliad as a Western? Sounds very intriguing. I'd give it a try.

August 18th, 2005, 10:33 PM
That could be quite interesting. You might want to check out the western historical writers out there. McMurty's "Lonesome Dove" was the most successful, but there's quite a lot out in the market. And with "Deadwood" getting some attention on cable, you might find some receptivity to it in the marketplace.

Rocket Sheep
August 19th, 2005, 12:48 AM
What about a science fiction spagetti western?

Wait... there's something about that in the Turkey Lexicon, isn't there?

August 19th, 2005, 07:52 AM

I am currently reading McMurtry's Anything for Billy as well as McCarthy's Blood Meridian. Although I think the idea has merit, I am not too well versed in Westerns. It looks like I have a lot of research to do.


Seeing as I am Polish, perhaps it will have to be a Kilbasa Western?


August 19th, 2005, 09:07 AM
You may want to pick up a Louis L'Amour book or two. He's quite possibly the most prolific Western writer of all time. Zane Gray was also quite good. Both wrote good, short books.

August 19th, 2005, 09:28 AM
Ah, Cormac McCarthy, great stuff. As an undergrad, in Texas, I took a course in Literature of the American West, and "Blood Meridian" was the highlight for me. "Lonesome Dove" wasn't far behind either. McCarthy has a trilogy, forgot the name, that starts with "All the Pretty Horses." Nice book, but the next two were better.

I think the Western is a really rich genre for any story that delves into myth and allegory. A perfect setting for the Iliad, in other words, limited only by your imagination. Go for it!


August 19th, 2005, 11:21 AM
You might want to check out the Writer's Guide to Everyday Life in the 1800s, as well as Everyday Life among the American Indians, 1800-1900. Hopefully your library has copies.

Have fun writing this. You should always listen to the story.

August 19th, 2005, 06:42 PM
What about a science fiction spagetti western?

Wait... there's something about that in the Turkey Lexicon, isn't there?

Aarrgh! Don't even bring those people up! Now we must cleanse the area with candles, spirits and sacred chants!

August 19th, 2005, 10:10 PM
Thanks for all of the suggestions. I have a ton of research ahead of me. Both of Old West fiction and old west fact.