Writers Describe the Character
The character in a western fiction novel may not have to conform to any particular description of his or her features (though that can help the story, if you do), but if you want to lend serious credibility to your character, as a writer, you’ll put some descriptions into the tale that conforms to the period as well as to the culture, and to the kind of work ordinarily done by the character, or work he used to do.
For writers, there are many ways to put images of your character into the mind of your reader. Here are some of the ways this writer did it in a western fiction novel entitled Bloody Wes Teague:
Writers & The Omniscient Perspective
He came out of the mist, riding slow on a smoke gray stallion, his yellow slicker moist, its shine dulled with age and dirt that would never wash away. He was a powerful looking man, with that lean, easy look about him that suggested quickness and danger. His face was darkened by hundreds of blistering suns and his pale blue eyes took in everything with a perpetual squint. His name was Weston Teague. Down in Texas, they used to call him “Bloody” Teague. He wore a cattleman’s suit beneath the slicker and his boots were not the usual ones he wore for riding. These were made of the softest of calf skin, darkened and polished to a deep brown. The careful observer would have seen pants with a laundry press and shine to them.
Writers Can Show the Good, Bad & the Ugly
Here, the writer has painted a picture. The image that springs to the reader’s mind is one of a strong, virile man who belonged to the West. The reader comes away with a picture of that man, and it’s a strong, positive image. Of course, you may want to paint a picture of a “bad man” in your book. Certainly if there are going to be villains in a book, the writer must describe that villain so as to make the reader aware that this is indeed, a “bad man.” In short, the writer has to put enough word art into the story that the reader comes away with a picture of someone who is indeed, “bad.”
Writers can take a different omniscient perspective, like this one
The leader was a quiet, brooding man, rib lean, with clothes that looked as though they had never seen the touch of water. Walter “Fish” Johnson was twenty-seven, but his eyes said he was older, much older. He was sitting on his throne at the moment, a small orange crate, cleaning his fingernails with a slender, wicked-looking knife, long, and with a needle sharp point.
Writers Show A Character Through the Eyes of Another Character
Sometimes, you want to have your reader see a character through the eyes of another character. Here, from that same novel, is a sample of how it’s done:
McIntosh took a deep breath, wanting desperately to slam Johnson in the gut. However, the naked blade in the man’s hand and the instinctive fear he felt for Johnson stopped him. There was something soul-less and desperate, something deadly about Johnson, and McIntosh felt it and shivered in spite of himself.
Writers can use the character he’s created to describe himself:
He felt the coldness rising up in him as all the details surrounding him sharpened and his senses came to full alert. Nothing showed on his face. It was as still and hard as the boulders on the side of the road and his eyes narrowed. And, he felt something rise up in him, a cold, calculated anger. These men represented the kind of men who’d destroyed his life as they’d no doubted destroyed the lives of others. Weston Teague suddenly wanted these men to seek his life. He was glad they were here. He wanted to kill them.
Writers, use your words carefully, but do use them. Make them come from the omniscient perspective, from the character, or from other characters, or even from their actions in a particular scene. Good writers always allow the characters freedom to be who they are, who the writer created. They must be permitted to act within the parameters the writer has developed.
Writers who want to write western fiction, or for that matter, any other kind of fiction, really must study their craft, and some may want to get tools made especially for writers, such as a tool like Dragon Naturally Speaking. But, to really make a writer’s story interesting, a writer has to have interesting characters. Only those writers who master that aspect of writing will put out the really good stories.