Inside a Writer's Mind 13: Jumping the Gun – 501 Prompts

You can read the story here.

I have stopped working on the prompt series for a while now. There are a lot of reasons for that, and each is better than the next. At least to myself, when I’m looking for excuses. But this week, I found myself sitting down with my notebook again.

I had no prompt or anything that guided my writing this time around. I just scribbled away, put down some kind of story that had been lingering in my mind for a while.

It was the first time that I put one of my stories in a western-like setting. I’m not leaning too heavily on the setting for the most time, but I’ve wanted to write some kind of showdown.

The situation ended up as basic as they come. We have our outlaw in hiding that tried to start a new life and on the other side, their pursuers who finally catch up to them. But there is a twist. First, it doesn’t end in a shoot out. I like to rely on tropes as much as the next, but it didn’t feel right to let the protagonist go down in a blaze of glory. Instead, he hands himself in. It’s only in the last paragraph when we get to know the double twist that in reality, he isn’t the person they are looking for.

Wait. Whaaaat? Does this even make sense?

Well, don’t look at me! I don’t know. My thoughts were something along that line: “Isn’t it funny how they always assume in a situation like that that the man is the bad guy? Maybe it’s interesting to play with that.”

So, I crammed an unreliable narrator in there. I haven’t had much experience with it before, and I’m not sure if it worked out well. I tried not to name the character before his antagonist identifies him. And he rolled with it. Only in the last sentence, the narration goes back to referring to him as ‘the man’ instead of Jamie like it did for the interaction.

What made him sacrifice himself? Love sure played a part in it. He definitely has some guilt, too. He might not be the person they’re looking for, but he rode with the same gang. How are the chances that he is a good guy? But, in a way, he also feels guilty for making Jamie settle down, and he takes the blame on him for letting the bounty hunters catch up on them. So, he makes that decision.

Maybe he didn’t want to deal with things anymore. He is tired of getting older, and in a sort of hero complex, he thinks the best way of action is to end it with this noble gesture to make himself feel better about his choices.

I do not like that guy, but I do like how his motivations change depending on the point of view you take for looking at the situation.

Well, that’s it for now. I hope you like that story! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.