My main focus as a writer is as a playwright, primarly a children’s playwright. However I do have a love for the American classic: the Western. I hate “tooting my own horn” but if you read my biography, you’ll see that not only do I enjoy writing westerns I’ve won awards for my western writing. In 2012 I placed First in the Kansas Writer’s Association Novel (First Chapter) competition and I placed Second in the Oklahoma Writer’s Federation Western Novel competition. Both awards were for my work The Last Hand.
So Thursday night, while taking a break from studying for a test in my English Lit class, I read over at brettcogburn.com that he was holding a contest for what he termed a “mini western”. The rules were simple, the story had to tell a complete story, that is a beginning middle and end, in 4 sentences or less and must be a western.
I took to the contest like a man on fire and since Thursday night, I’ve written 4 of these mini westerns. I’ve shared the idea with an English teacher friend of mine and he incorprated it into his classroom teaching on Friday and with a writer friend of mine, who has written 2 of her own.
It’s a fun contest, but it’s also a challenge. How do you convey a full idea in 4 sentences? How do you get the reader engaged and care about the characters in 4 sentences? How do you tell a beginning, a middle, and an end in 4 sentences? Like I said, it’s an interesting challenge but a fun one as well.