Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Should You Hide Your Identity When Writing Different Genres?

   This post was inspired by a conversation I saw several days ago based on a female writer's negative experience after submitting her manuscript to a publisher. She re-submitted the same manuscript under a man's name and received a positive response. That got me to thinking about the reality of writing in several genres that might require the use of a different name in each genre.
   Even though I read primarily fantasy, over the years I've also enjoyed a number of stories in different genres. Honestly, I don't pay any attention to the name of the author, whether it's male or female, when deciding to read a book. I go by the cover and the blurb on the back. If the story is character driven and fairly well written, I'll remember the author's name and look for more titles written by them.
   I imagine if you are just dipping your toes into a genre and no one knows your name, it would be advantageous to follow perceived convention and use a name that best fits that genre. If I was to write a romance, for example, I'd probably use only my initial for a first name.
   However, if you are well known, or already have a number of people who follow you, why not use your real name regardless of the genre? If Robert Jordan had decided to write a romance, C.J. Cherryh a western, or Nora Roberts a fantasy, I wouldn't hesitate to read them because I'm familiar with and love their writing style. It would be fun to see what kind of a story they came up with.
   In keeping with today's theme, I am sharing a scene from a western story that I've been playing with, rather than another scene from my fan/fic.
   It's rough, but it's me. Thanks for reading.

Head bent low over his horse’s neck, Sonny was still pelted with dirt thrown up by his brother’s mount, and the flecks of sweat flung back in his face made it hard to see. He could barely make out the outcropping of rocks his brother headed for. Their old saddle broncs were no match for the ponies hot on their trail, and at this pace, wouldn’t live long if they didn’t stop soon. Of course, a sudden stop now could kill them anyway, but it couldn’t be helped.

The warbling cries of the war party rose above the pounding of the horse’s hooves. They were too close.

“Joshua!” he yelled several times until his brother glanced back. “We get hunkered down behind dem rocks, toss me your repeater an I’ll hold dem off whilst you load up da pistols.”

Joshua nodded in agreement, slowed down and angled to get behind the rocks. He was well aware of who was the best shot between them.

Sonny shook his head over the lack of cover the rocks provided, but it was better than nothing. Grabbing his own repeater, he swung down off the horse, caught the one Joshua threw at him before scrambling to a prone position behind the rocks. The first two Indians he dropped were easy targets since they were headed straight for him. Instead of backing off, the rest spread out to either side and continued to ride.

“They’s gonna surround us!” he called out.

“Afeared of dat,” his brother grumbled.

An Indian on the ground is easier to hit then an Indian on a horse, so Sonny began to target the ponies. Two more fell and didn’t get up before the others disappeared on the backside of the outcropping.

Sony laid down the repeater, pulled his knife, and took back his revolver from Joshua who had re-loaded both pistols. The brothers knew that the next few moments would determine whether they lived or died.

“How many, ya figure?” Joshua whispered.

“I reckon four, maybe five. Jus keep yer eyes peeled on dem rocks above us”, Sonny answered.

Two shots rang out from Joshua’s Colt at the same time that two knife wielding savages sprang from the rocks on either side. Sonny quickly dropped his pistol and grabbed his opponent’s wrist holding the knife. The warrior’s momentum carried him over Sonny and dragged them both to the ground just as the bodies from above landed. One struck between them and knocked their knives loose.

Sonny scrambled backward, his left hand falling on the dropped pistol, and was able to bring it up in time to catch his attacker in the chest. Transferring the gun to his right, he took careful aim at the Indian who was inches away from driving his knife into Joshua’s throat, and shot him in the head.

Collapsing on his back, Sonny stared in horror as the last Indian stood up on top of the rocks and released an arrow down at his brother before the slug from his pistol knocked the savage backwards and out of sight.

He crawled over to his brother, quickly untying the bandanna around his neck. The arrow was embedded in Joshua’s right thigh, so the first thing he needed to do was stop the flow of blood.

Joshua tried to smile around the pain.

“Who learnt you how ta reckon?” he forced out between gritted teeth before passing out.

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