07-21-18 Patricia Sargeant

Monday, August 27, 2012

Overheard on... PBS

“Suppose, suppose….”
These were allegedly the last words spoken by Wyatt Earp to his beloved wife Josephina on his deathbed. Now, considering that we all know who rules the roost in most relationships, I would consider them more of a plea than a statement by Wyatt.

Having lived in New England I've spent some energy reflecting on why personalities differ so much across the country. Ultimately I reached the conclusion that the women who were moved from England to Boston reached those shores and said a categorical ‘no’ to the plea of suppose while westerners, on the other hand, embraced that question and lived by it.
In my monthly Genre-ista blog I am taking the question of tension and applying it to different genres. For September we are highlighting Western Romance, so now is the perfect time to explore where conflict comes from in great western romance stories.

My answer… it is not the men who create the tension… no matter how big their, ahem, guns are. No, it is the women. These women had to be brave and strong, yet civil and nurturing. The very dichotomy of their roles in the western environment necessarily created tension.
So, for our writing exercise this month I am asking readers to consider their favorite western heroines and examine the challenge they face living in opposition:

Feminine -yet- strong
Independent -yet- part of community

Adventurous -yet- civilized

And for our writers, can you give your own heroine, whatever the genre these conflicting traits? Do it and you may be surprised by the level of tension you will get in your writing.
Be courageous yourself and suppose….


deanne said...

Ready to take on my Western Romance challenge? Here's the 411 on my character Jessica from BETTING JESSICA... She is super independent... really wants to do things herself. But in the process of attempting the bet, she learns she has to reach out to others and this doesn't make her less of a success. I can see where Western women might feel the same... is it a bad thing to have to borrow eggs because your chickens aren't laying? Or butter because you ruined it? On these lines... you might check out a funny book called, LITTLE BLOG ON THE PRAIRIE... it is ya, but has a lot of these elements. cheers,

Diana Mcc. said...

I like your blog post! Suppose...does leave it wide open for ideas. I agree the pioneers and western women were tough in a tough environment. And yet, they raised children and kept there husbands in line. Tough yet nurturing.

Judith Ashley said...

Thanks,for another interesting post, Deanne.

Something to think about as I start the Linda Lael Miller book on my TBR pile.

Tam Linsey said...

I love characters who are dichotomous in their goals and desires! And the Old West was certainly a place to test one's inner strength. Nice "thinking" post, Deanne.