Herd of Bandits chapter 1


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  1. #1

    Herd of Bandits chapter 1

    Deacon Wynter looked around him. There was no sign of an opposing force, but he knew they were there. He had a huge herd of cattle behind him that needed to get to a good grazing land. But in their way was a huge plot of land that belonged to some not-so-kind folks. He has crossed over numerous times and had to exchange a few bullets with them occasionally. He always lost cattle and it always cost him. He knew this was his last chance or he was never going to leave his sharecropped land he was currently living. All he had to do was make It past these 400 acres with minimal casualties. Deacon looked around one last time. There was no getting around this, he had to do it. Deacon took a sip of his flask full of whiskey, and sighed.

    "Screw it", he said to himself, and pointed his revolver at the sky.

    Blam!

    As soon as the shot rang, Deacon spurred his horse and charged ahead at full speed. The cattle he was assigned, followed closely behind.

    Bang! Bang, Bang, Bang!

    Bullets whizzed past him. He looked to his left and saw a group of men whom the land he was trespassing belonged to, shooting their rifles at him. Some cows started dropping dead, and some others started straying from the path.

    Deacon couldnít stop to round them up, he was running for his life. He pointed his revolver at the general direction of the enemy and opened fire. He emptied his entire chamber in two seconds. The brief barrage of bullets coming from Deacon caused his enemies to scramble momentarily. Deacon used this brief moment to try to regroup the remainder of his cattle and flee. By the time they were able to recover, Deacon and his cattle was already a safe distance away from the gunfire. And he made his way to his destination.

    Finally he was at his destination. A lush field with plenty of grazing for the cows; who's number had been cut in half. Nobody owned this field. Not yet anyway. This was the perfect opportunity for Deacon to relax, and empty his flask.

    Deacon loves whisky. It was the only thing he had to escape his impoverished lifestyle. He lived with an unrelated family on a sharecroppers land. While the family cultivated the land, he herded the owners cattle. Usually his runs would result in him owing more than he was payed. He lived in a circle of debt. Because of today's disastrous run. He was going to need a barrel of whisky.

    A few hours later, two men riding on horses approached the herd. Deacon recognized them immediately. They were the owner of the cattle and his giant, snotty son.

    "Well," The owner started. "What the hell happened to the rest of them?"

    Deacon got up lazily and tipped his hat. "The Jenkins were waiting for me. They opened fire. They were out for blood."

    "And looks like you gave it to 'em without a fight." The old man said in a disgusted tone. "Paul, grab him."

    The owner's son grabbed him and twisted his arm behind his back. Deacon didnít even resist.

    "You are one of the best gunslingers around these parts, and you can't even kill a couple of low life's like the Jenkins?"

    The old man held his walking stick like a baseball bat and swung it across Deacon's face. The blow made his body go limp.

    "Th- they were on their own land." Deacon replied as he spit out some blood. "They were fully within their rights. If I opened fire on 'em, I could've got in trouble with the law."

    Deacon felt a gigantic fist connect with his jaw. The blow knocked him to the ground.

    "Don't talk back to my Pa' " The owners son said with a smile on his face.

    "Thank you Paul." the owner said, and then kneeled down to deacon, who was struggling to get up. "Listen, I donít care about the law, and the law donít care about you. The only thing that matters in this world is wealth and fame. You keep livin' your life the way you are and you're gonna' finish last."

    "I think it's already too late for him Pa'. He's gonna be last for the rest of his life." His son chuckled, and the two shared an ugly laugh.

    "You're right." Deacon said, interrupting the laugh.

    They both looked at him. His hat was blocking his face. They couldnít get a view of his emotions.

    "All my life I tried to live by the books. Hoping that eventually life would throw me a biscuit. But what you just told me, I've heard it before. From the greatest outlaw alive." Deacon looked up steely eyed at his aggressors. "Big Ted."

    The two looked surprised when he said that. "You knew The leader of the Rough Riders?"

    "Oh yeah." Deacon said with confidence. Blood was dripping down his face from the previous blows. "He taught me everything I need to become a great outlaw. I have just been trying to do the right thing. But now, the only right thing to do is kill you two scumbags."

    The owner was starting to get scared. "Go get 'im Paul." He screamed.

    Paul ran at Deacon and threw a powerful punch. Deacon dodged it so fast, his hat stood in the air. He followed through with an uppercut and a few more punches to knock Paul down. When Paul realized he was outmatched, he pulled his revolver out of his holster. It was immediately shot out of his hands. Paul looked and saw Deacon had his gun out and was aiming right for him. Consumed with rage, Deacon emptied four bullets into him.

    "Paul!" The old man screamed. "I'm gonna kill you, you son of a b****!" The old man ran to his shotgun that was saddled with his horse.

    Deacon grabbed a nearby rock and tossed it at the horse, causing it to gallop away before the old man could reach it. Now the old man was defenseless. Deacon walked slowly with his gun pointed at the old man. He had one more bullet in the chamber.

    "Don't do it Deacon." The old man pleaded. "The law will come after you."

    "Listen old man." Deacon said with a devilish smile. "I donít care about the law, and the law don't care about you."

    With that, Deacon pulled the trigger. The blood of the old man splattered across his face. Deacon then went to grab his hat. He dusted it off, and put it back on his head. He still had the huge smile on his face.

    Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk

  2. #2
    1st of many chapters will try to update every 2 days.

  3. #3
    He knew this was his last chance or he was never going to leave his sharecropped land he was currently living.
    I spotted a few of these, it is clear what you mean, but the parts don't go together;

    'He knew this was his last chance if he was ever going to leave the sharecropped land where he was currently living.'

    That is one way round of putting it, there are others. A good way of spotting these is to read it out aloud, you will probably find a bit of a hesitation or difficulty.

    He looked to his left and saw a group of men whom the land he was trespassing belonged to, shooting their rifles at him.
    This one sort of works, but try analysing the ideas in the sentence; where he looked, who he saw, his relationship to them, what they were doing; then you can decide how to order it for maximum clarity.

    'To his left a group of men were shooting at him with rifles, the owners of the land he was trespassing on'

    Hope this helps.
    Visit my website to read and connect to my 'soundcloud', where you can listen to stories songs and more
    Hidden Content

    A thread of links useful to writers wishing to learn
    Piglet's picks. Hidden Content

  4. #4
    Deacon Wynter looked around him. There was no sign of an opposing force, but he knew they were there. He had a huge herd of cattle behind him that needed to get to a good grazing land. But in their way was a huge plot of land that belonged to some not-so-kind folks. He has crossed over numerous times and had to exchange a few bullets with them occasionally. He always lost cattle and it always cost him. He knew this was his last chance or he was never going to leave his sharecropped land he was currently living. All he had to do was make It past these 400 acres with minimal casualties. Deacon looked around one last time. There was no getting around this, he had to do it. Deacon took a sip of his flask full of whiskey, and sighed.
    What you're doing is transcribing yourself telling the story aloud. It might work if the reader could hear the emotion in your voice, the changes in tempo, intensity, and all the other tricks of verbal storytelling. But that doesn't make it to the page. Nor does your intent, so the reader has no idea of how to read the words. And because they won't know what a given line will say till after they read it, they can't guess. Sure, when you read it the emotion, and the excitement, is there. But you're not reading it and the reader has none of the background or your intent.

    When telling a story aloud it's the performance that provides the emotional content. and because the reader can neither see nor hear you there can be no performance. That alone is a major problem that must be addressed if the story is to make the reader want to turn to the next page.

    A second, highly important area is that you're apparently making up your facts without regard to history or even, I'm afraid, reality.

    First. A sharecropper lives on land they do not own. In return for they right to farm the land sharing the profits of the crop. That's why they're called sharecroppers. That means a small family owned and operated farm. Sharecroppers are not ranchers, so they do not have herds, large or small.

    Next: Acres are a measure of volume, not distance. Telling the reader the acreage to be crossed is meaningless because it tells the reader nothing about the distance to be traveled, any more then you can know how long a room is if you have only the number of square feet in it. And it certainly doesn't make them know the terrain.

    Next: Cattle do not follow, they must be driven, and guided. A "huge" herd takes many men to do that. All that would happen were someone to fire a gun as your character does is to frighten the cattle and make them scatter. Did you do no research at all? Added to that, it makes no sense that the owner of the herd has crossed the land in question, up and back, more than a few times, and has sought no alternate method of reaching public grazing land. Nor have you provided any reason why the owner of the land cares if he moves the cattle across it.

    Next: Were people trespassing on your land, multiple times, would you shoot at the cattle or the people moving the herd? Would you not talk to the sheriff, and get an injunction, or seek to have the trespasser arrested? Of course you would.

    Next: Were you to need to pass through someone else's land, wouldn't it make sense to talk to them, and perhaps offer a few head of cattle? Of course it would. The fact that your protagonist doesn't even think about it says he's a plot device, following your script, without even pretending to be a thinking being.

    Next: So there you are, about to enter a place where you know people will be shooting at you. Would you fire a gun to announce you're entering the property, to make sure they didn't miss you and the cattle? Hell no. So why would he? And what kind of idiot would empty his gun in a few seconds, leaving him unarmed? Given that the attackers were not visible at the start they obviously have cover. Why would they move out where he can shoot at them easily when they could shoot and provide no target. And why would a two second burst of fire cause them to cower for the ten minutes necessary to round up the catle and move out of range? Answer: they wouldn't. They would peer out, see he's riding with no pistol, and kill him. Only in Star Wars and Star Trek, do people with guns miss every time they fire.

    The short version: You need to portray real situations with real people, acting according to the situation and their needs, presented in real-time, not overview. That takes research on how it's done. It takes writing skills not taught in our school days. It takes a focus on what matters to the protagonist in the moment he or she calls "now."

    It's not a matter of good or bad writing. It's not a matter of talent. What I'm talking about are the skills made necessary by our medium. It has strengths the other mediums don't share, as well as weaknesses. As an example, a scene on the page is very unlike those in film, stage, or verbal storytelling. But if you don't know the elements that make up a scene, how can you write one? If you're unaware of the three things a reader needs to know quickly you won't provide them.

    If your goal is to write exciting fiction you need those skills and the knowledge that goes with them—the tricks the pros take for granted.

    It's not easy. No profession is. And our reading no more makes writers of us than does our TV watching make screenwriters of us. So hit your local library's fiction writing section. It can be a huge resource, and make you slap your forehead, saying, "Why didn't I think of that," over and over.

    Some relevant quotes by the pros:

    “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
    ~ Mark Twain

    Michaelangelo did not have a college degree, nor did Leonardo da Vinci. Thomas Edison didn't. Neither did Mark Twain (though he was granted honorary degrees in later life.) All of these people were professionals. None of them were experts. Get your education from professionals, and always avoid experts.”
    ~ Holly Lisle

    “It’s none of their business that you have to learn how to write. Let them think you were born that way.”
    ~Ernest Hemingway

    “Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader, not the fact that it’s raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.”
    ~ E. L. Doctorow

    “There’s no such thing as a born writer. It’s a skill you’ve got to learn, just like learning how to be a bricklayer or a carpenter.”
    ~ Larry Brown





  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Olly Buckle View Post
    I spotted a few of these, it is clear what you mean, but the parts don't go together;

    'He knew this was his last chance if he was ever going to leave the sharecropped land where he was currently living.'

    That is one way round of putting it, there are others. A good way of spotting these is to read it out aloud, you will probably find a bit of a hesitation or difficulty.


    This one sort of works, but try analysing the ideas in the sentence; where he looked, who he saw, his relationship to them, what they were doing; then you can decide how to order it for maximum clarity.

    'To his left a group of men were shooting at him with rifles, the owners of the land he was trespassing on'

    Hope this helps.
    This can only make me a better writer

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greenstein View Post
    What you're doing is transcribing yourself telling the story aloud. It might work if the reader could hear the emotion in your voice, the changes in tempo, intensity, and all the other tricks of verbal storytelling. But that doesn't make it to the page. Nor does your intent, so the reader has no idea of how to read the words. And because they won't know what a given line will say till after they read it, they can't guess. Sure, when you read it the emotion, and the excitement, is there. But you're not reading it and the reader has none of the background or your intent.

    When telling a story aloud it's the performance that provides the emotional content. and because the reader can neither see nor hear you there can be no performance. That alone is a major problem that must be addressed if the story is to make the reader want to turn to the next page.

    A second, highly important area is that you're apparently making up your facts without regard to history or even, I'm afraid, reality.

    First. A sharecropper lives on land they do not own. In return for they right to farm the land sharing the profits of the crop. That's why they're called sharecroppers. That means a small family owned and operated farm. Sharecroppers are not ranchers, so they do not have herds, large or small.

    Next: Acres are a measure of volume, not distance. Telling the reader the acreage to be crossed is meaningless because it tells the reader nothing about the distance to be traveled, any more then you can know how long a room is if you have only the number of square feet in it. And it certainly doesn't make them know the terrain.

    Next: Cattle do not follow, they must be driven, and guided. A "huge" herd takes many men to do that. All that would happen were someone to fire a gun as your character does is to frighten the cattle and make them scatter. Did you do no research at all? Added to that, it makes no sense that the owner of the herd has crossed the land in question, up and back, more than a few times, and has sought no alternate method of reaching public grazing land. Nor have you provided any reason why the owner of the land cares if he moves the cattle across it.

    Next: Were people trespassing on your land, multiple times, would you shoot at the cattle or the people moving the herd? Would you not talk to the sheriff, and get an injunction, or seek to have the trespasser arrested? Of course you would.

    Next: Were you to need to pass through someone else's land, wouldn't it make sense to talk to them, and perhaps offer a few head of cattle? Of course it would. The fact that your protagonist doesn't even think about it says he's a plot device, following your script, without even pretending to be a thinking being.

    Next: So there you are, about to enter a place where you know people will be shooting at you. Would you fire a gun to announce you're entering the property, to make sure they didn't miss you and the cattle? Hell no. So why would he? And what kind of idiot would empty his gun in a few seconds, leaving him unarmed? Given that the attackers were not visible at the start they obviously have cover. Why would they move out where he can shoot at them easily when they could shoot and provide no target. And why would a two second burst of fire cause them to cower for the ten minutes necessary to round up the catle and move out of range? Answer: they wouldn't. They would peer out, see he's riding with no pistol, and kill him. Only in Star Wars and Star Trek, do people with guns miss every time they fire.

    The short version: You need to portray real situations with real people, acting according to the situation and their needs, presented in real-time, not overview. That takes research on how it's done. It takes writing skills not taught in our school days. It takes a focus on what matters to the protagonist in the moment he or she calls "now."

    It's not a matter of good or bad writing. It's not a matter of talent. What I'm talking about are the skills made necessary by our medium. It has strengths the other mediums don't share, as well as weaknesses. As an example, a scene on the page is very unlike those in film, stage, or verbal storytelling. But if you don't know the elements that make up a scene, how can you write one? If you're unaware of the three things a reader needs to know quickly you won't provide them.

    If your goal is to write exciting fiction you need those skills and the knowledge that goes with themóthe tricks the pros take for granted.

    It's not easy. No profession is. And our reading no more makes writers of us than does our TV watching make screenwriters of us. So hit your local library's fiction writing section. It can be a huge resource, and make you slap your forehead, saying, "Why didn't I think of that," over and over.

    Some relevant quotes by the pros:

    ďIt ainít what you donít know that gets you into trouble. Itís what you know for sure that just ainít so.Ē
    ~ Mark Twain

    ďMichaelangelo did not have a college degree, nor did Leonardo da Vinci. Thomas Edison didn't. Neither did Mark Twain (though he was granted honorary degrees in later life.) All of these people were professionals. None of them were experts. Get your education from professionals, and always avoid experts.Ē
    ~ Holly Lisle

    ďItís none of their business that you have to learn how to write. Let them think you were born that way.Ē
    ~Ernest Hemingway

    ďGood writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader, not the fact that itís raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.Ē
    ~ E. L. Doctorow

    ďThereís no such thing as a born writer. Itís a skill youíve got to learn, just like learning how to be a bricklayer or a carpenter.Ē
    ~ Larry Brown




    Most of what you say is true, I'm still have a lot to learn at writing. I will respond to this scene and say that I didn't go that in depth because he isn't going to be a cowboy for long. I didn't feel the need to do that much research because this was literally the only time I was going to write about herding.

  7. #7
    Next: Acres are a measure of volume, not distance. Telling the reader the acreage to be crossed is meaningless because it tells the reader nothing about the distance to be traveled, any more then you can know how long a room is if you have only the number of square feet in it. And it certainly doesn't make them know the terrain.
    The basic objection is true, but you mean 'area' rather than 'volume', volume includes the third dimension. An aside, an acre varied slightly from place to place like most old measures do because they are based on something variable, like the height of a man. Now fixed at 43,456 sq.ft. an acre was originally the area that a man could mow with a scythe between dawn and dusk on a summer's day.
    Visit my website to read and connect to my 'soundcloud', where you can listen to stories songs and more
    Hidden Content

    A thread of links useful to writers wishing to learn
    Piglet's picks. Hidden Content

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