Sunday, July 9, 2017

How to Write Western Action

Life embellished has been essential in writing certain scenes in my novels, especially for Big Horn Storm. When I was a teen, my dad and I were helping friends drive their cattle to a high grazing lease for the summer. By the time we reached the steepest, last big push, the cows were getting tired and a few decided it would be easier to slide back down the mountain than to keep climbing. My dad was on a green-broke colt which wasn’t as surefooted as my palomino gelding, and she was getting a little tired with her heavier load. To make a long story short, my dad told me to go after them. I looked at him like he was mad, but nudged my horse, assuming he wouldn’t go if he thought it was too steep. He was a good cow horse, so he didn’t hesitate to plunge over the edge after the cattle. The slope was too steep and the dirt too loose to stop and I ended up beating the cows to the bottom. As calmly as possible with one’s life flashing before her eyes, I gathered the cows up and herded them back to the dirt road where my dad was waiting to help me guide the cows up the hill to the rest of the herd. I still occasionally have those, “Man From Snowy River,” flashbacks, but the experience did help me write a couple scenes in Big Horn Storm.

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