March 23, 2020 at 5:05 pm #109320
I’m plotting a new story for Camp Nano this April, and it’s a fantasy/historical fiction set in the old west (Tombstone, Arizona, circa 1889 and 1890, to be exact), and I’m a bit overwhelmed by all the things I’ll need to research to make the setting, characters, weapons, and food as accurate as possible. I now know that the .45 revolver, the Colt Peacemaker was the most common gun carried, but there’s still so much more that I need to know.
I don’t want to miss anything, so if you guys can think of anything that I’ll need to research, I’d appreciate it. They’ll be added to my growing list. 🙂
(also if you’re curious, the story is based on the newspaper article from the Epitaph in April 1890 documenting the sighting and killing of a large, featherless, crocodile-like bird; a description that fits the thunderbird or pterodactyl almost perfectly. nobody knows if the story was made up or not, but I’m going to imagine what the story could’ve been, real or unreal.)
just a crazy ENFP/tough cowgirl/obsesses over time travel/middle earth/writer/book dragon/obidalaMarch 26, 2020 at 8:03 am #109434
No one else has responded to you??!! Well!
Hi! This sounds like a REALLY great idea! I LOVE stories about the thunderbird! *shivers in delight*
I think it would be good to learn as much as you can about the culture and the towns in the old west. I’m also writing an old west story, though it’s set a little further back in time. I don’t know that I can give you a lot of help with information, but if you tell me exactly what your looking for I can try 🙂
Sold souls and dead promisesMarch 26, 2020 at 5:21 pm #109454
Hey! Thank you so much! Yes, while I was visiting the Creation Museum with my family last year, I read this article in the section of the place with lots of different stories with dragon-like creatures (dinosaurs), and the story really struck me and ever since I haven’t been able to forget it. It just needs a story. 🙂
Yep, I’ve been working on that, and I have figured out that the old west towns were not really the cool places they seem. In reality, they were rather lacking in morality and “good” people. So that’s going to play into my story a little, but I’m not going to dive into some things… especially places like The Birdcage Theater. That place is just shocking. >.<
Thank you again, Emberynus! I’m glad to find someone else writing an old west story. 🙂
just a crazy ENFP/tough cowgirl/obsesses over time travel/middle earth/writer/book dragon/obidalaMarch 26, 2020 at 5:25 pm #109455
Cool!! I love all dragon legends, but particularly that one!
Yeah they were rough places alright. Oof!!
You’re welcome. I’m always glad to help if I can. If you got any more questions feel free to bounce them off me.
Sold souls and dead promisesApril 17, 2020 at 8:08 am #110328
Hey! How’s your writing going?
I’m doing NaNoWriMo Camp too. Would you want to be my buddy? 🙂
Sold souls and dead promisesApril 17, 2020 at 12:46 pm #110336The Inkspiller@the-inkspiller
Full disclosure, I just joined the group so that I could respond and lend my help, even though I haven’t particularly wrote much in the Old West setting (though I often look to it for inspiration, particularly when I’m in a more sci-fi mood), but I do have an amateurish breadth of historical knowledge in the area. The idea of cowboys versus dinosaurs was just too cool to pass up.
Also thanks for specifying the timeframe of your story down to the year – it’s a lot easier to answer research questions about America in 1889-90 than “The Old West.”
Everything I put here is just off the top of my head, preemptive of any questions you might have; the more specific questions you have, the more thorough I can be with my answer.
First, however, I would go for authenticity over accuracy. Aim to make it feel like the Old West, even if you have to fudge here or there (without giving into baseless stereotypes that is).
1890 is getting pretty close to what “modern” America looks like; the West still remains, but it’s beginning to fade, and fade fast.
Tombstone itself was founded in 1879, so it’s 10-11 years old now. The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral happened in 1881, Morgan Earp died in an ambush in 1882, and Wyatt and Virgil Earp left Tombstone in that same year. Doc Holliday would have died in 1887 in Colorado after leaving Tombstone in 1882.
Not in Tombstone, but the Wounded Knee Massacre in South Dakota occurs in December of 1890, so likely well after your story is set.
The last military confrontation with an Apache band was in 1886 – effectively, from that point on, hostilities with native Americans are confined to minor / municipal incidents without major military deployments.
Electric lighting is now known in the Eastern United States (though it’s still going to take a little bit longer for power stations to really make it out west) – especially to little Tombstone. Gas lighting and old style wood and coal stoves are still prevalent, especially out west.
Firearm ammunition still generally uses black powder; smokeless powder has been invented, but would not be patented in any form in the U.S. until 1890 and would not see general military (and therefore universal civilian use) until around 1907. This is a big deal because black powder generates a ridiculous amount of smoke, to the point where if you fired off your revolver in a small room, you might not be able to see across the room anymore; gunfights are loud and noisy, and visibility becomes atrocious quickly with black powder. However, in the outdoors, the cloud of gun-smoke generated can actually serve to give away your position – potentially a good plot device.
Style / Authenticity:
It goes without saying – read Mark Twain. He’s the archetypical writer and voice for the period, and one of our best resources for how people talked back then.
I’m glad to answer questions and help with the research, and I’d like to hear more about the story!
- This reply was modified 1 year ago by The Inkspiller. Reason: style tags were whacked
Non nobis Domine, sed nomini, Tuo da gloriam.April 17, 2020 at 2:31 pm #110347
@the-inkspiller Okay, wow, let me just say that your information is incredibly helpful and insightful. Thank you so much! I know, it’s kind of disappointing that I can’t include the Earps or Doc Holliday in the story… they’re such fascinating people! But then, I don’t know what I’d do with them anyway. 😛
I’ve gotten quite a bit of writing done, I’ve written 23k so far.
The story is told (in past-tense) by a young, cocky, and naïve 16-year-old boy named Lawrence who has run away from home. After trying out some different jobs, he finds himself the partner of a Dr. Everett Holm, a British scientist exploring in disguise, looking for a creature that has been sighted near Tombstone: a pterodactyl. When the boy meets and befriends the creature, he realizes he could never help to capture it. He also meets a girl named Ruth, who he wants to help set free from her (literally) imprisoning job at the Birdcage Theater. It all comes down to a choice: to speak up, to stand for freedom, or not.
That’s the best off-the-top-of-my-head blurb/synopsis thingy I can do. XD
I’ll definitely consult you if I think of any particular questions! My most recent research was gunshot wounds and the main arteries in the body. 😀
- This reply was modified 1 year ago by Kendra. Reason: missing word
just a crazy ENFP/tough cowgirl/obsesses over time travel/middle earth/writer/book dragon/obidalaApril 17, 2020 at 8:04 pm #110363
Yes! I’d love to be your buddy! My username is Kendra Lynne. My writing is going really well, I’ve written 25k and my goal is 30k at the moment. 🙂
- This reply was modified 1 year ago by Kendra.
just a crazy ENFP/tough cowgirl/obsesses over time travel/middle earth/writer/book dragon/obidalaApril 23, 2020 at 8:08 am #110827
Sold souls and dead promisesApril 23, 2020 at 8:17 am #110829
My username is RedGauntlet
Sold souls and dead promisesApril 23, 2020 at 2:14 pm #110846
That’s a cool username. 😉
just a crazy ENFP/tough cowgirl/obsesses over time travel/middle earth/writer/book dragon/obidalaMay 18, 2020 at 7:05 pm #112762Rusted Knight@rusted-knight
Well to help your story.
First, the time frame leaves you with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show in Europe. The Wild Bunch are all dead or in prison. Richard West is the last of this group and was killed last year. Jesse James has been dead since 82. Frank James has been acquitted of all charges and is living quietly. Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch won’t meet for another nine years (individual future members are active.) Bat Masterson has left law enforcement and now lives in Denver. Wyatt Earp is in San Diego also out of law enforcment.
Second, other popular (and more useful) guns are the iconic Sharps and Winchester rifles. The Sharps is cheaper and has superior accuracy but the company has stopped producion in 81. The Winchester has a clip and can be fire 7 to 14 round before reloading. Both use the lever action to cock and reload.
Third and this is for the scientist. If he is hunting dinos, there are other beast of lore from the west that have a dinosuar like appearance from several Native American tribes. You could have him tailing the dactly as part of ongoing studies.
The Devil saw me with my head down and got excited. Then I said AmenMay 22, 2020 at 11:28 am #113448Kimmi@kimlikesart
Wow! And awesome!
I have a book with that article in it. Amazing that you’re making a story from it! I really think it was real. They’re not the only ones who saw such creatures (though farther back a ways.) In 106ish BC Marcus Tulliues Cicero wrote about flying snakes, and where they lived. In the same paragraph that he talked about the ibis (which would eat the flying serpents), and still lives today.
In the 4th century Ammianus Marcellius also speaks of the exact same thing with the same two creatures in a paragraph.
Marco Polo on the 13th century spoke of giant snakes with arms, and claws instead of feet (paws?). He goes on to describe how the people of China killed them, ate them, and used the left-overs for medicine.
There are so many more instances! I’m not sure if this will do you any good… Maybe someone can question them about how ridicules their claim is, and they can site books they’ve read (if they can read) as proof that it was not preposterous. ???
I love your book idea! But if your interested in reports of people with dinosaurs/dragons there’s a short book with lots of pictures that goes in depth on it all. ‘Dragons’ by Bodie Hodge and Laura Welch. They’re Christian authors and it’s completely clean though very insightful.
I’m sorry to say I don’t know much of the west (and I’m from Texas). Your book would do me good. Now, Texas History, that I can do. (:
I love the idea!
Passion = A Willingness To Suffer
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