Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Two Sentence Tuesday: Pulp Edition

After watching "They Were Expendable" the other night (my review), I'm still in the mood for World War II stories. Thus, I picked up Louis L'amour's Night over the Solomons (1986). I've never read any L'amour so, naturally, I start with a non-western. Go figure.

The title story was published in 1943 and, according to the author's note preceding the tale, had a bit of precognition (or coincidence) to it. The island in the story, Kolombangara, was the perfect place for the Japanese to build an airstrip. L'amour knew it from his time in the Pacific and, evidently, so did the Japanese.

Here's a twofer describing an action scene between the American hero, Mike Thorne, and a Japanese soldier. The "blade" in question is a bayonet at the end of the Japanese soldier's rifle.
"Instantly, Thorne slapped the blade aside with an open hand and moving in, dropped the other over his opponent, at the same time hooking a heel to trip him. With a quick push, he spilled him and snatched the rifle away."
What I like about this passage is the sheer amount of action contained in two sentences, especially the first. We modern writers are told to break out with short sentences to promote the action quicker. Not sure you always need to do that. L'amour does just fine his own way.

My twofer (slightly more, really) involves a supernatural western. In a bit of ironic timing, Chris over at the Louis L'amour Project, posed a question yesterday about 'supernatural westerns.' The timing is ironic since I was already working on one. So far, my two characters are contemplating a large pile of dung.
I indicated the dung pile. "I ain't never seen shit that big. What the hell kinda animal lays turds like that?"

Miller rose and spat. He tossed the wood down on the dung. The flies grew more irritated. Miller didn't care. He reached out and patted his horse on its neck.

"Not animal, Kendrick. Dragon."
We'll see where it goes.

For more twofer goodness, take a trip over to Women of Mystery.

BTW, I guess it's okay that I do these Two Sentence Tuesday posts as I am, not that I'm aware of, a woman.


Clare2e said...

How ridiculous! Of course you may do them not being a woman, unless you decide you want to be, and we're open-minded at WoM.

L'amour's action shows a different kind of economy, but it's still crisp and direct. And, BTW, I love the notion of supernatural Westerns. I think King's The Gunslinger did that for me, giving the western landscape back a slow, mythic quality that goes neglected now and then, but always seems to find its way back into our imaginations.

Dragon loaves, huh? Yikes. Bring it on!

Lois Karlin said...

Oh my God. I never thought about the size of a dragon's turds. And supernatural westerns...your spit-propelling characters in an unearthly landscape...great stuff.

Leah J. Utas said...

Mmmmm supernatural western. I have the first draft of a vampire western festering at the back of the hard drive so I am totally with you on this.
Meanwhile, I can see the dragon leavings. Well done.

David Cranmer said...

Ha! I like "The flies grew more irritated."

Barrie said...

Hey Scott, do you remember which Perry Mason took place in Oceanside? It sound vaguely familiar to me, but I can't think of a title.

Chris said...

If you do a Western with dragons in it...man, that would be amazing! Keep up the good work!

Charles Gramlich said...

I don't know if you're familiar with the large round bales that most farmers are using these days for baling their hay. we see 'em a lot down here. I always used to tell my son Josh they were Dragon turds. He had fun with that.

Scott D. Parker said...

Clare2e - "Loaves"! HA! I haven't heard that term before. I've read the Dark Tower books 1-3. Really liked the early books a lot, the images and the feel. There are some Marvel Comics adaptations that fill in the gaps. They look tres cool!

Lois - I didn't either. The image I had was of two riders investigating some turds of a large animals. Then the word "dragon" appeared in my mind and I went with it. Little more fun that mere dinosaurs.

Leah - Bring that vampire western back to your desktop and write away. I'd love to read it.

David - I had the impression that any fly that would stomp around on dragon dung would be larger than life and, thus, irritated. Dunno. Maybe the flies are a theme or recurring character...?

Barrie - I'll have to check when I get home. I'll e-mail you.

Chris - Thanks. And, like I wrote, ironic timing. Need yours, too!

Charles - Yeah, I know the bales in question. You think like I think: that is, off the wall.

Barbara Martin said...

When you said the timing was 'ironic' about you writing a supernatural western and Chris mentioned it elsewhere, this is known as 'synchronicity'. It was meant to happen, and thus, you are to complete this wonderful story about dragon turds. I want to read all of it.

Chris said...

Also, props for reading Night Over the Solomons. I have it but haven't checked it out yet. How do you like it?

Scott D. Parker said...

Barbara (II) - "With one breath, with one flow, you will know, synchronicity..." (nod to Sting)

Chris - So far, I've only read the title story. Liked it quite a bit. I need to write up a review.