OK, boys and girls it’s time to saddle up and dig those spurs in. This here is the first stage launch of The Big Adios. What? You didn’t read about this new project I’m launching in February that’s a mix somewhere between flash and short fiction especially for all my little buckaroos? I’ve mentioned it a couple times on that social networking sinkhole called Facebook and on the Twitters too. So maybe a friend of a friend might have retweeted, reposted, re-something all those little nods and nudges? Still nothing? Hmmm?
Well come February 5th I, along with with a couple good cow pokes going by the names of Ryan “The Walnut” Sayles and Aldo “Doc” Calcagno, am launching this little western fiction site called The Big Adios. A title that I hope evokes western tones as well as nods to the community I’m currently serving with Shotgun Honey. I think the Western shares a lot with Hardboiled and Noir fiction. So it’s not a stretch. At least not for me.
I used to read bunches of it back in high school when TBS would re-air Louis L’Amour based movies staring Tom Selleck and Sam Elliott. And of course well all those Westerns that came before with John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Jimmy Stewart, Gary Cooper, Clint Eastwood and dozens of classic cowboy actors. Those Tom and Sam movies, made for TV and based on the works of Louis L’Amour, are what turned me on to reading the paperbacks they were based from. From there, for a while, it was a whole slew of western fiction.
I’m a sucker for a good western movie or TV show, but reading fell to the wayside. I was exploring other genres. So why the interest in westerns now? I have to throw blame at David Cranmer and his Cash Laramie and Miles Gideon short story collections and novellas written by various authors I’d become familiar with in the crime fiction community. I like short fiction, so once I got the bug from David, I looked for more. Unfortunately, I really couldn’t find a website dedicated to western fiction like there were in crime fiction. So if there is a void, I might as well fill out.
So that brings me to you pardner. Whether your a writer or reader, I’d like to see you give The Big Adios a shot. And for the writers, today is the day to start consternating on your story and getting them polished shinier than a nugget gold.
Let’s set a couple ground rules, before you start putting too much raw thought to digital paper.
What are we looking for?
We are looking for traditional western stories. Stories about whiskey swilling outlaws, gun toting sheriffs, wonderfully wild women and how the west was won.
But, we’re also looking for stories that push the boundaries of the genre and even welcome the occasional genre mashup. Because we believe, at least I do, that there’s a spirit that immortalizes the genre and that it can, if written well, be transported beyond the standard tropes of black hats and white hats, cowboys and Indians. It’s what makes modern lawmen like Longmire and Raylan Givens seem both out of place and right for the present. I suppose the cowboy hats help, too.
What aren’t we looking for?
Just because you dress your protagonist up in a cowboy hat doesn’t make it western fiction. Keep that in mind when you’re skirting from the traditional.
We don’t want romance. It’s sad but when you check the top books in the Western category on Amazon, half are really just romance novels. I guess women folk just like them hunky cowboys. This ain’t the place for that.
No Indian massacres. There are a lot of truths about the American West, hard truths. I don’t think the few hundred words we’re allowing for our stories are adequate to properly tell such a heady story.
What is the word count?
During my tenure with Shotgun Honey we have been open too, and have even published a couple, western based crime stories, but I’ve discovered that 700 words isn’t as adequate to set up and carry out the story as it is for crime fiction. Also from the start I’d like to give the opportunity to accept longer stories, so at The Big Adios we are adopting a multi-format solution.
Our goal is to publish one story a week in either a single day or a multi-day format. The single day format is 1200 words, the multi-day is serialized over 2 or 3 days for a total of 2400 or 3600 words. The caveat of course is if you go for the longer story it has to have built in breaking points. You have to consider how the story will be serialized.
These are the structured limits, but like with Shotgun Honey if the story is exceptional we’ll willing to bend. Nothing is carved in stone and quality trumps quality. If you go in intentionally breaking the rules, it better be a damn good story.
Do you edit?
No. Your story had better be well edited before we open that attachment.
Will you accept previously published works?
Yes. As long as you hold the current publishing rights and the story fits our modest criteria we are happy to give your story a review.
How do I send you my submission?
Send your submission as an attached word .doc or .docx file to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: Story Title – Your Name – Word Count.
Please do not send us your biography, bibliography or synopsis. These are short stories, we don’t need a hook.
I’ve got more questions, who do you ask?
For now, me. Send any questions to email@example.com. I’ll try to answer your questions.