My granddad loved reading Westerns. Loved it. When he was reading Louis L’Amour, his eyes lit up and danced like he was re-reading love notes from the woman he met in the Philippines during World War II who turned him into a man. My granddad was a manly man. Submarine-based Sailor during WWII. Worked in the coal mines. Was a prison guard. Drove an 18-wheeler. Dealt with my grandmother. A tough man loves tough books.
Me, not so much.
Take that however you want, but I’ve never been a big fan of Western novels. Love the John Wayne movies and the Clint Eastwood spaghetti Westerns, though. In fact, Unforgiven with Eastwood still ranks up there as one of my favorite movies. Loved both versions of True Grit, too. What I need is a writer with my sensibilities putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, to write the kind of Western I would like. A cross between Blazing Saddles, Lust in the Dust, and Django Unchained with just a touch of Pale Rider. A writer like Chuck Wendig.
Chuck Wendig has authored some pretty entertaining novels such as Blackbirds and Mockingbird and seems to be publishing a new book at least once a month. He has written a series of profanity-laden How-To e-books on the art of writing and is the webmaster at TerribleMinds.com, a site devoted to helping writers, whether it’s through flash fiction challenges, columns on various writing methods and tips, interviews with other up-and-coming writers, what have you.
What makes him so good in his genre, which tends to run towards fantasy and sci-fi, is that he understands his audience and writes directly for them because he is us. He can use the $5 words, but doesn’t do it in a way that is patronizing to the reader. Imagine Young Adult with sex and a lot of F-bombs. In other words, imagine Twilight…but good. Wendig is a master of the non-gratuitous four-letter word. He writes the way a lot of us talk. He’s gritty, edgy, dark, and hilarious. He needs to write a Western.
And I don’t mean something like Cowboys and Aliens or Wild Wild West. Something serious. Ish. Something manly. Something with strong cover art featuring a ruggedly handsome cowboy squaring off against a nothing-to-lose desperado with the love of a buxom raven-tressed damsel hanging in the balance. If the supernatural storyline of Blackbirds were removed and if the timeline was changed to Oklahoma of the 1850s, Wendig would have a rootin’, tootin’ cowboy shoot ’em up classic on his hands already.
For men like my granddad, they didn’t need any coddling. They liked their Westerns like they liked their toast: dry. Guys like me need something more because I don’t have that bad-ass mindset already implanted within me. I need someone to draw it out like a syringe pulling the–
OK, that was about to get gross, because I was going to make an analogy based on draining a cyst, but I’ll just move on. Eww.
My point being, Chuck Wendig is the kind of writer who, in my opinion, can cross over through different genres with minimal effort. I want to read Westerns, but I don’t want to stop being the dorky little sissy man that I am in order to enjoy the classics. So I need someone to create new classics with lots of swearing and dick jokes.
So Chuck, if you could have that cranked out in time for Christmas, that’d be swell.