Let me introduce to you author Sullivan Stone! If you've been following me for a while, you might already know that Sullivan is my husband, also known as Norm Strauss. Norm and I collaborated on the Rosa Reed mystery series and the Lady Gold Investigates series, so you can be reassured that he knows his chops! He also helps me write journal entries for Ginger's Journal.
So please put your hands together... er, please welcome Sullivan Stone!
Hey Everyone, thanks for joining me on Lee's blog. I've always been a fan of the Western genre, and I'm guessing some of you are too, or that maybe you know someone who is.
If, like me, you love tales of the Old West, with cowboys and showdowns, then you’re already familiar with the feel of a classic Western novel—even if you’ve never heard the term ‘trope.’
A trope is just a fancy way of describing those parts of a story that appear time and again because they’re so effective. They’re the secret ingredients that make your favorite dish taste great every time.
Let’s take a trail ride through the five story elements that give every classic Western its distinctive kick.
- The Tough Lone Hero: In any thrilling Western story, there’s often a hero who prefers to go solo, and who often has a troubled or mysterious past. They’re the type who roam the Wild West, a cowboy hat pulled low, usually quiet but always ready to stand up for what’s right with their trusty six-shooter. They’re the backbone of any Western tale. If you’ve read any novels from my Chronicles of James Casper series, you’ve met this kind of hero face-to-face.
- The Wild, Wild Setting: The setting of a Western isn’t just where the story takes place—it’s as alive as any cowboy or outlaw in the book. In fact, it’s often thought of as one of the characters in the story. From the dusty trails to the snow-capped Rockies, the land is full of beauty and danger that shape the adventures of our heroes. Just like in ‘The Chronicles of James Casper,’ where the story takes you through the awe-inspiring Rockies of Colorado and the vast plains of Southern Wyoming, making you feel as though you’re right there with the characters.
- The Showdown: What’s a Western without a good old-fashioned standoff? It’s the moment when our hero confronts the villain. Whether it’s in a dark alley, or out in the open, it’s all about nerve and aim. If you’ve experienced the tension of the multiple showdowns in ‘The Assassin,’ you know these are the heart-pounding moments that make a Western novel truly unforgettable. The villain in this story is not only cunning and dangerous, but also slightly unhinged, making him even more formidable a foe for our hero James Casper.
- Justice on the Frontier: Out in the West, the law can be hard to come by, so sometimes our heroes must deliver their own brand of justice. Whether they’re righting wrongs or protecting the innocent, their quest for justice propels the story and reveals their true character.
- A Mix of Many Cultures: The frontier was a melting pot, where people from all walks of life had to find ways to coexist. Sometimes they fought, and sometimes they supported one another. This blend of characters adds real color and depth to a Western, giving us a glimpse into the past and the diverse people who shaped it. In the Chronicles of James Casper, you’ll meet characters from many backgrounds—Native Americans, Germans, Mexicans, Asians—all contributing their unique flavor to the story.
So there you have it—five classic elements that make a Western novel as satisfying as a campfire meal under the stars. Whether you’re a long-time fan or new to the genre, these are the parts of the story that draw you in and make you feel like you're part of a grand adventure in the Old West. And if you’re ready to saddle up for such an adventure, The Chronicles of James Casper are waiting for you to read and enjoy.
Lee here again!
I hope you enjoyed hearing about the 5 common tropes found in classical westerns. Do you have a favorite trope? Let me know in the comments.
As you might've guessed by the author picture of Sullivan, he has a guitar in his hand! Norm is an excellent singer songwriter and if you listen to the song he wrote and performed in this video, I think you'll agree!