|Stan Lynde Fan Club||7-29-12 Issue #16|
| Dear Friends, Family and Fans,
If I were to name my subject this month I would call it "learning curves." I believe we learn more from hindsight than we do from foresight, or so it seems at least in my own case. What we've learned from hindsight is that our special group of wonderful fans is not part of the new wave of chat room enthusiasts. That does not mean that we won't have special reasons for using this modern tool at Stan's web site should the occasion warrant. It is just that we have suspended the monthly Monday Stan Lynde Chat Room for now. Sigh!
Elmore Leonard started out writing westerns and went on to write terse crime fiction filled with unforgettable characters and great dialogue. Regarding his “Ten Rules for Writing,” he said, “These are rules I’ve picked up along the way to help me remain invisible when I’m writing a book.”
Writing about description in fiction, Leonard says, “Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.” His famous rule number ten takes it further: “Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.”
I agree with Leonard, and I try to keep his advice in mind when setting the scene in one of my Merlin Fanshaw westerns. The reader needs only enough information to know where the scene takes place.
Here, from Ernest Haycox’s Bugles in the Afternoon, is what I consider a well-written scene:
“The darkness was a complete, moonless dark. Beyond Officers’ Row lay the low, curved silhouette of the western ridge, over which a soft wind came with its scent of winter, with its scent of further wildness. Out there, far, out, lay a country as mysterious as the heart of Africa. Across it, during the past ten years, occasional military expeditions had traveled, had fought, had won and lost—but never had penetrated the core of it. That was Sioux land, the last refuge of a race which had given ground before the promises, the threats, and the treacheries of the white man’s frontier; and now had vowed to retreat no further. Out there Sioux tepees made their rows and clusters along the Powder, the Yellowstone, the Tongue, and the Rosebud; and along a stream which Indians called the Greasy Grass but which was known to white men as the Little Bighorn.”
Contrast Haycox’s spare but elegant prose with this adjective-laden description from Zane Grey’s Light of the Western Stars:
“She was too tired to move a finger. But her brain whirled. She had at first no control over it, and a thousand thronging sensations came and went and recurred with little logical relation. There were the roar of the train; the feeling of being lost; the sound of pounding hoofs; a picture of her brother’s face as she had last seen it five years before; a long, dim line of lights; the jingle of silver spurs; night, wind, darkness, stars. Then the gloomy station, the shadowy blanketed Mexican, the empty room, the dim lights across the square, the tramp of the dancers and vacant laughs and discordant music, the door flung wide and the entrance of the cowboy---”
Meaning no offense to Zane Grey or his many fans, but I much prefer Haycox’s spare, clean picture.
It leaves room for my imagination.
Western Web Site Recommendations
Working Ranch Magazine
If you would like to order your own copy of these books, just click on the book link. It is available both in E-Book for $2.99 and Trade Paperback for $9.99. Also click on the Audio Sound 'button' and hear some of the story read by Stan himself (he reads is own novels for his Audio Books).
In this issue:
From Vendetta Canyon:
(Chapter 13 To Make Amends) on “setting the scene:”
“The trail to Vendetta Canyon wound up through timbered hills and open parks toward the granite peaks that crowned the War Bonnet range. Aspen groves shimmered on the hillsides, their leaves a-patter with a sound like rain. Wheatgrass bent with the breeze. The heat of early afternoon eased its grip on the day, giving way to cooler air and the medicine smells of pine and sage. Shadows grew longer. Blue as wood smoke, fool hens pecked nervously under spruce trees, and mule deer browsed the ridges as I rode Rutherford up the switchbacks.”
Merlin Fanshaw Monthly Puzzle (first winner with the correct answer to this month’s Merlin Fanshaw Puzzle can claim as their prize either “Bronc Rider” OR “Quicksilver” Stan Lynde Pencil Drawing.
Go to www.stanlyndeauthor.com and click on the link to the Merlin Fanshaw Monthly Puzzle and test your skills against the questions that Stan prepares for this fun “in the know” quiz. Answers MUST be posted on his blog. Here is July 29th, 2012 Merlin quiz question:
Which of the Merlin Fanshaw novels are also available as audio books?
a. THE BODACIOUS KID, CARELESS CREEK, and SAVINGS MISS JULIE
b. MARSHAL OF MEDICINE LODGE and SUMMER SNOW
c. VENDETTA CANYON and TO KILL A COPPER KING
d. ALL OF THE ABOVEGood luck! The winner will be announced next month!
Just want to tell you that I was always a fan of Rick O'Shay. When the strip ended, it was like a death in the family. I have every one of the Merlin Fanshaw novels as well as Vigilanty Moon. I very much enjoyed them all. Now I am having the pleasure of introducing my little 7 year old grandson to Merlin. We just finished reading Careless Creek. (My copy of the Bodacious Kid was on loan when I decided that Colt might be old enough to enjoy having the series read to him.) We finished the last chapter of Careless Creek today and he is already eager to beging another. Thank you so much for the pleasure you have provided us. Wishing you the best.
To Kill a Copper King
5.0 out of 5 starsTakes you back in time....to the old west, December 18, 2010
By Wildplantdr - See all my reviews
This review is from: To Kill a Copper King: A Merlin Fanshaw Western Mystery (Paperback)
I bought the book because I had met the author who is a true gentleman and a native to Montana. This is not a genre I usually gravitate towards. I usually read technical books on healing and crafts, science fiction novels, and brain candy for women..romance.
This was a very different choice. But as soon as I started reading, I was hooked. I was swept back to a time and place that I didn't even know I wanted to be. But I loved it. Butte MT 1888. I live in Montana, so the history and the depictions of real people who built and settled this great state was fascinating. I fell in love with the characters. Most especially the protaganist. A true man, not a superman, but a man of honor and flaws. Straight forward thinker, addlebrained when it comes to women, kind, smart, noble. I enjoyed being in his mind and seeing the world through his eyes.
Present time has gotten so fast, so complicated, not so straightforward, so entering the World that Stan Lynde has created, is kinda like a vacation. Like getting into a time machine and going to a simpler place where you take the time to get to know the people around you.
There is humor......Merlin Fanshaw says seriously funny things...., the mystery is mysterious...though as a female...it is always the relationships and the people that are the most interesting in the book.
And I highly recommend it whether you know you are a fan of the western novel, or have not yet delved into it.
I am off to get the first in this series now, cause I am hooked on Merlin.
This Sunday's Grass Roots Cartoon feature 07-29-12
Here is a small rendition of this Sunday's 07-29-12 Latigo cartoon. GGo to StanLyndeAuthor.com for the full treatment!Rövar Bob
Summer is whizzing by way too fast. Vacations, gardening, BBQ’s , heat wave, concerts in the park, mosquitoes and summer visitors! Until the end of August when we next publish the Cottonwood Clarion Newsletter, we wish you happy times, good health, pleasant memories and God’s richest blessings!
Stan Lynde's Cowboy Lore & Legend
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Stan and Lynda Lynde
296 Willowbrook Drive
Helena, MT 59602/span>
http://www.StanLynde.net/ or http://www.stanlyndeauthor.com/