Writing a short story located in the Old West takes grit and Will Starr has it:
- His wit is dry as the desert he sketches with native vision.
- His endings surprise like gold nuggets in an Arizona pan.
- He understands horses and spurs and the loneliness of a long distance rider.
- His women hold their own against complicated.men of steel.
In 2010, Starr won the Rope and Wire Western Short Story Competition and in 2011, tied for 4th place in the Arizona Authors, Arizona Centennial International Short Story Competition under his legal name, Bill Henderson.
WillStarr spins frequent yarns at hubpages.com, where his short stories are offered to all, free of charge. Of the stories listed, Starr recommends, “For sheer fun, it would be one that few have actually read, The Wager. My best western would be Hired On.”
Starr- think deputy badge- shares many tales of the Old West for readers. He fleshes out criminals:
“From the cloud of dust and the clatter of steel rims on stones, I knew the afternoon stage from Yuma was just over the next rise, maybe half a mile off and headed my way, so I rode off the road, just as four men appeared from out of a dry wash. They pulled bandannas over their faces and took up positions on either side of the road.”
And frail widows:
“The front window’s pane was rimmed in feathery ice as she gazed out at the slowly falling flakes. Harold had always installed the storm windows in the fall, but her frail hands could not manage the chore, and Dale Jenkins, who farmed down the road, was so busy harvesting that she hated to ask him, although she knew he would have put all aside to accommodate her. He was a good neighbor.”
Rowdy card games:
“Con was not a professional gambler, although he was a far better player than most professionals. His father had been an honest Mississippi river boat gambler and one of the best. He had taught Con all the tricks and methods of cheating, including the sounds of a crooked deal. Con could spot a cheater every time, and if needed, deal a crooked hand any time he wanted, completely undetected. He could neatly stack a deck and with one hand, cut any card he wanted to either the top or the bottom. But he was not a cheater.”
“Don’t let them see you scared Jake. Walk out there on your own. It’s going to happen no matter what you do, so you might as well make the best of it.”
“I ain’t scared.”
Color Will Starr’s imagination dusty as a dry blade of grass, refreshing as a cool drink from a half-empty canteen, enigmatic as a shimmering rattler. His work lulls readers like a shot of bourbon on a day with gun slinging headlines.
Read Will Starr’s short stories by clicking links above. Find his body of work here.