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Omnitech
March 15th, 2019, 01:12 AM
I decided to post the beginning of a story I was thinking about last week, and started writing two nights ago. I had written a bit more than this but deleted about 200 words that I wrote last night when I was far too tired. One thing I found some contradicting information on was how to format inner thoughts. I read that some use quotes and some italicize and I did both in the hopes it would be clear haha. Anyway, if this is good or terrible thanks in advance!

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The mounted Figure that rode towards Wyatt was a haze as his focus was on the front sight of his Hawken Rifle. He took three deep, slow breaths, calming his accelerating heart. He lifted is head and retrieved the binoculars from his haversack. Manipulating the focus wheel with what was left of his right index finger, the image of the rider became clear. The rider had black hair and was heavily built, this man was not his target.

“keep calm, be patient” he whispers to himself.

Wyatt was positioned on an embankment overlooking an arrow strait stretch of road a mile long. The brush atop the embankment was thick and the road clear. It was the perfect spot to stage an ambush.

Wyatt carefully removed the percussion cap and lowered the hammer of his prized rifle from half-cock.

“I should have known it wasn’t him, Ernest Howard, that damn weasel, never travels without his two-legged ox of a body guard.”

With as few movements as possible he slides back into a small, cavern like bush. It was early morning and with sun rising behind the embankment, this natural hovel would be concealed by shadows for another hour and a half at the most.

“Be calm, be patient, you almost shot an innocent man.”

Minutes later the distinct clip-clop, clip-clop, clip-clop, of iron shod hooves approached. Wyatt laid his head to the ground and held deathly still. Another minute passed and through the brush he could see the silhouette of a barrel-chested man with long oily hair riding an aging brown mare.

“Francis Miller. Christ man you almost killed a good man!”

Francis Miller, a hog farmer, was pulling a small wagon with the last of his possessions. Ragged clothes, some pots, pans and hand tools in a condition hardly worth saving are all that’s left. Any and all items of worth Francis sold to pay off the con man Ernest Howard.

Olly Buckle
March 16th, 2019, 11:29 AM
I got to the end and went back to check out 'Ernest Howard', introducing three names in the first three hundred words is a recipe for confusing them, stick 'The man Wyatt was waiting for' on the end and we have an extra reminder.

'an arrow strait stretch of road' Check out strait/straight in the dictionary, I know American spelling varies in things like that, but it would be the latter in English English. It is also worth considering whether you want to stick with it when you come up with something as used as 'straight as an arrow'.

Omnitech
March 17th, 2019, 02:51 AM
I got to the end and went back to check out 'Ernest Howard', introducing three names in the first three hundred words is a recipe for confusing them, stick 'The man Wyatt was waiting for' on the end and we have an extra reminder.

'an arrow strait stretch of road' Check out strait/straight in the dictionary, I know American spelling varies in things like that, but it would be the latter in English English. It is also worth considering whether you want to stick with it when you come up with something as used as 'straight as an arrow'.

Thank you for taking the time to read this! After a quick google you are correct about strait/straight even on this side of the pond. I appreciate you pointing these things out, spelling has always been a struggle for me. I fixed it in the story and then read/wrote it out a few times in hopes it sticks haha. "Straight as an arrow" is definitely generic and I will probably change it eventually. I tried to think of something different when I wrote it but came up empty handed. I figure it will work for now and hopefully something will come to mind without staring at a wall worrying about one line that I'm not happy with.

The names being introduced did feel off to me but I wasn't sure what to do about it. It would make sense that Ernest would be the one to cut for now. Introducing Francis I think is important to portray the gravity of Wyatt's possible mistake, and work to get him under control.

I changed the two sentences referencing Ernest.

“I should have known it wasn’t him, the weasel never travels without his two-legged ox of a body guard.”

"Any and all items of worth Francis sold to pay off a con man. The same con man now being hunted by a man he shouldn’t have taken advantage of."

These are quick rewrites but you were right, this sounds much better. It keeps the antagonist a mystery and is not as confusing.

Thank you again for your feedback, every post I read on WF has taught me something. I know it is just a small intro to a story, but posting something I wrote for others to read is something I never thought I would do.

Olly Buckle
March 17th, 2019, 09:29 AM
Partly my error in capitalising 'The', I was actually thinking, 'Any and all items of worth Francis sold to pay off the con man Ernest Howard, the man Wyatt was waiting for.' so you got all three names together at the end with something to identify each. But what you suggest works, and if it is okay in the writing keeping Howard a mystery for a while could well add something.

Ralph Rotten
March 17th, 2019, 03:17 PM
Ooooh, someone shoots black powder enough to know about the primer cup. :)

Twas good. That's the kind of spot where you can be verbose and use the scene to really paint your character Wyatt.
I'd use it to flesh him out a bit more.

Omnitech
March 17th, 2019, 06:19 PM
Ooooh, someone shoots black powder enough to know about the primer cup. :)

Twas good. That's the kind of spot where you can be verbose and use the scene to really paint your character Wyatt.
I'd use it to flesh him out a bit more.

This scene may have come to mind as I was sighting in a 100grs FFG load for my Hawken reproduction haha. Now I need to decide between a Walker Colt or 1851 Navy's for a side arm.

Ralph Rotten
March 18th, 2019, 03:03 PM
Everyone has the Navy Colt, so I'd go with the Walker.
Personally I always preferred the lines of the Army.
Twas an elegant weapon for a gentleman.
The Navy had such knobby lines, hangs up during holstering...it's an ugly gun to me.

But then, even more people own the Army than the Navy.

Ralph Rotten
March 18th, 2019, 03:05 PM
Or you could get weird and use a pinfire.
They were a thing back in the day.
In fact, I just saw a major character using one in something...can't remember what movie/show.

Omnitech
March 19th, 2019, 01:54 AM
I am leaning towards the Walker also. I have two Pietta Navy's and always reach for the Walker lol. It would also go well with the big bore Hawken.

I really like your pin fire idea. It wouldn't fit well for Wyatts go to gun as the setting I'm going for is late 1850's Texas, but now I want to dream up a scenario where he needs to bust out a lefaucheux shotgun.

Roac
March 19th, 2019, 07:54 PM
This is good and I am interested in knowing what happens next.

As for the thoughts inside the quotes, that is something I don’t remember seeing. My suggestion would be to take out the quotes and just use the italics. That is how it is done in the books I have read.




Wyatt was positioned on an embankment overlooking an arrow strait stretch of road a mile long. The brush atop the embankment was thick and the road clear. It was the perfect spot to stage an ambush.

To me, this line comes across as telling the reader what is happening, instead of having the reader relate to the character. Maybe something like the following would work:

Positioned high on an embankment overlooking the arrow straight stretch of the road, Wyatt allowed himself to relax. The brush around him was thick and the view of the road clear. It was the perfect spot to stage an ambush.




With as few movements as possible he slides back into a small, cavern like bush. It was early morning and with sun rising behind the embankment, this natural hovel would be concealed by shadows for another hour and a half at the most.

It seems like this line slipped into present tense. Change “slides” to “slid” and I think it is good.

Thanks for sharing.

Omnitech
March 20th, 2019, 01:33 AM
Thank you for the feedback! I am hoping to be able to sit down and and get a good bit of writing done this weekend, so hopefully we find out what happens next soon haha.


To me, this line comes across as telling the reader what is happening, instead of having the reader relate to the character. Maybe something like the following would work:

Positioned high on an embankment overlooking the arrow straight stretch of the road, Wyatt allowed himself to relax. The brush around him was thick and the view of the road clear. It was the perfect spot to stage an ambush.

This definitely sounds much better. Reading it in this form also has me thinking about what his frame of mind would be other than just tense and angry.


It seems like this line slipped into present tense. Change “slides” to “slid” and I think it is good.

Thanks, I always struggle with tense continuity it seems.

Omnitech
March 24th, 2019, 03:07 AM
I revised a bit and added some to the story. Worried the last section feels like an info dump I figured I would post the update. Thanks in advance again. Coming up next will be the ambush.

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The mounted Figure that rode towards Wyatt was a haze as his focus was on the front sight of his Hawken Rifle. He took three deep, slow breaths, calming his accelerating heart. He lifted is head and retrieved the binoculars from his haversack. Manipulating the focus wheel with what was left of his right index finger, the image of the rider became clear. The rider had black hair and was heavily built, this man was not his target.

“keep calm, be patient” he whispers to himself.

Peering through thick brush atop a high embankment, Wyatt had a clear view of a strait stretch of road that extended to the horizon. The only road out of town that lead to anywhere worth going was the perfect place to stage an ambush.

Wyatt carefully removed the percussion cap and lowered the hammer of his prized rifle from half-cock.

I should have known it wasn’t him, the weasel never travels without his two-legged ox of a body guard.

With as few movements as possible he slid back into a small, cavern like bush. It was early morning and with sun rising behind the embankment, this natural hovel would be concealed by shadows for another hour and a half at the most.

Be calm, be patient, you almost shot an innocent man.

Minutes later the distinct clip-clop, clip-clop, clip-clop, of iron shod hooves approached. Wyatt laid his head to the ground and held deathly still. Another minute passed and through the brush he could see the silhouette of a barrel-chested man with long oily hair riding an aging brown mare.

Francis Miller. Christ man you almost killed a good man!

Francis Miller, a hog farmer, was pulling a small wagon with the last of his possessions. Ragged clothes, some pots, pans and hand tools in a condition hardly worth saving are all that’s left. Any and all items of worth Francis sold to pay off a con man. The same con man now being hunted by a man he shouldn’t have taken advantage of.

As Wyatt watched the former farmer round the bend on his tired mare, he wondered what Francis would do now. Losing his wife four years prior and with no children, the farm was all Wyatt’s old friend had left. The urge to reveal himself and ask Francis to join him was near impossible to resist. He certainly has reason to want revenge, but with age and near constant drink he would be a liability. Francis was never a fighting man anyway, slow to anger and eager to forgive. If Wyatt knew what was going to happen to his friend, he would never have let him pass. 30 miles from the bend, Francis dismounts his horse, leaves the road, and heads into the desert. After two days of walking aimlessly and dehydrated, Francis lays his head on a rock, lowers his hat to shield his eyes and drifts into sleep. He never wakes from this nap.

Wyatt observed the road again to ensure it was clear and allowed himself to relax for a moment. With no target for the moment, Wyatt settles back into his old cavalry habits, checking and rechecking his equipment.

His hands naturally reached for his fathers powerful Hawken first. Feeding a short section of wire down the flash hole ensured when the hammer dropped, sparks from the percussion cap would ignite the powder and propel the .53” lead ball to dispense justice. He repeated the process with the .36 caliber Kentucky rifle that harvested countless rabbits growing up on the frontier.

Wyatt held the Kentucky rifle for a lingering moment. This tool had never taken a human life. It was innocent in a way, only feeding a hungry family when food stores were scarce. He contemplated setting the old rifle aside. In his prime as a sharpshooter for the Texas Mounted Infantry he could reload and shoot 3 well placed shots in a minute. Now, he would count on the second rifle instead of his speed and dexterity.

On his hip, in a saddle holster modified to work with a belt, rested a U.S model 1847 Colt revolver. The revolver, designed by his late mentor Captain Samuel Walker, was gifted to him after Santa Anna was defeated in 48’. Wyatt re-tied the raw hide strap holding the charging lever to the barrel, and firmly pressed each of the six percussion caps convincing himself they were not loose. After a moment of thought, he decided this belt holstered cannon was less than innocent.

Lastly, to his left next to the haversack that contained food, powder, ammunition, and gauze, was his Saber. The curved Officers saber was presented while being commissioned as a lieutenant after the battle of Huamantla.

Olly Buckle
March 24th, 2019, 07:39 AM
this man was not his target.

“keep calm, be patient” he whispers to himself.

Change of tense, whispered.

I was going to mention the spelling of 'Saber', but looked it up first, you Americans have some funny spellings!

Omnitech
March 26th, 2019, 02:36 AM
Change of tense, whispered.

I was going to mention the spelling of 'Saber', but looked it up first, you Americans have some funny spellings!

Corrected, thank you!

Keeping tenses consistent is something I always seem miss. Someone will have to hold me at sabre point until I learn lol.

Johnnyb1815
April 8th, 2019, 06:52 PM
It grabs my attention Omnitech, so that's good. I assume your main character is an excellent shot. Assuming that, the part about the rider being a haze as he focused on the front sight is wrong. You have it backwards. An experienced shooter knows the focus is entirely on the target, specifically the exact spot on the target they intend to hit. The rifles sights are only there to help subconsciously align the gun with where the shooters eye is looking.

Thomas Norman
April 8th, 2019, 07:54 PM
I like this short intro. The suggestions above would hone it well. I hope you persevere, it has the makings of a good story.

One small point. Not everyone is familiar with the niceties of weaponry. Keep it simple is my advice.

Johnnyb1815
April 8th, 2019, 08:45 PM
I like this short intro. The suggestions above would hone it well. I hope you persevere, it has the makings of a good story.

One small point. Not everyone is familiar with the niceties of weaponry. Keep it simple is my advice.

I agree with Thomas Normans advice, though going into more detail does enhance the experience for those that are familiar with guns. As someone with experience teaching others to shoot, the two worst habits people develop are focusing on the sight, not the target, and closing one eye. Both eyes open, eyes focused exactly where you want to hit, that is how an expert rifleman shoots. That applies to handguns, shotguns, and rifles, with or without a scope. I like the story thus far. Honestly it does not detract from it, unless the reader happens to be someone a lot about shooting. I know that on the few occasions that something I am very knowledgeable about comes up in a story I'm reading, it grabs my attention when something is wrong, or I disagree with it. Not in a good way. That might just only be though:)

Omnitech
April 11th, 2019, 02:46 AM
I agree with Thomas Normans advice, though going into more detail does enhance the experience for those that are familiar with guns. As someone with experience teaching others to shoot, the two worst habits people develop are focusing on the sight, not the target, and closing one eye. Both eyes open, eyes focused exactly where you want to hit, that is how an expert rifleman shoots. That applies to handguns, shotguns, and rifles, with or without a scope. I like the story thus far. Honestly it does not detract from it, unless the reader happens to be someone a lot about shooting. I know that on the few occasions that something I am very knowledgeable about comes up in a story I'm reading, it grabs my attention when something is wrong, or I disagree with it. Not in a good way. That might just only be though:)

Thank you for the feedback!

I do have to disagree on front sight focus. I am a very experienced shooter and it is nearly universally taught to focus on the front sight. Of course when acquiring your target you will need to focus on the target until you are ready to shoot. From the military to civilian courses I have taken including instructor certification this has been the same. As for moving targets such I have found I end up in some plane of focus in between lol. With that said I have seen a few instructors that differed in this but the vast majority teaches front sight focus.

https://www.nrafamily.org/articles/2018/6/24/front-sight-focus-why/

https://gundigest.com/more/how-to/handgunning-why-focus-the-front-sight

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lMYzJpD4n8

I do agree with shooting with both eyes open, though it takes some practice. That is if your vision allows it. My wife for example has a terrible astigmatism in the left eye and finds it very difficult to shoot with both eyes open.

Omnitech
April 11th, 2019, 02:50 AM
I like this short intro. The suggestions above would hone it well. I hope you persevere, it has the makings of a good story.

One small point. Not everyone is familiar with the niceties of weaponry. Keep it simple is my advice.

Thank you for the feedback! I am still honing the story very slowly with work and sick children so hopefully I can post a finished product soon. I agree about trying to not go too in depth, but I did think of this scene while shooting so it's been a struggle lol. I am attempting to write this so even someone with no experience can try to imagine what is happening, but it will probably take much more practice to be able to do that well. Thanks agian!