The Way To Write Western Warrior Epics: Part 1

ALERT! ALERT! ALERT!

Calling all Red-Blooded, Barrel-Chested, Authors, Artists, and Creators!

Do you love Movies, Novels, and Comic Books?

Do you have those favorite Films, Stories, and Pictorial Narratives that you keep coming to time and time again?

Have you ever had the burning desire to write your own…or even just understand why you love the things you do!

Well if you do, then you’re in the right place, because we’ve got the ultimate checklist system that’s even been put together on the topic just for YOU! 

That’s right…read on below to find out!

BECAUSE FOUR IS BETTER THAN THREE!

Our original system here at Mind at War.org is called “The 4 Act Story Structure”…and it’s different from anything that’s ever been written on the topic!

“The 4 Act Story Structure” is a system specifically designed to write a particular kind of tale…a type of story that doesn’t get written anymore, because the way to write it just isn’t taught…

That’s right, it’s the Western Warrior Epic, embodied in the Pulp Fiction, Western, War, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Spy, Action-Adventure, and Thriller Genres of old!

It’s based off of the work of some of the most pioneering figures not just in the writing industry–bu in the realm of the Western Warrior Heroes themselves. 

That’s right, the Military field!

 Some of them you may have heard of, some of them, well, they may be new to you!

There’s only one way to find out!

JohnBoyd_Pilot

THE SKY CAPTAIN SUPREME

Meet Col. John Boyd: America’s most highly-skilled fighter pilot.

During the Cold War years, when the West was faced with certain extermination at the hands of the nuclear-armed Communist madmen of the East, Col. Boyd would rise to the top of the ranks in American aviator apex in a bid to keep the Bolsheviks at bay.

Nicknamed “Genghis John” because of his tough, no holds-barred life code, and “Forty Second Boyd” for his ability to be given the losing position in a dog-fight and reverse it to total victory within forty seconds.

But Col. Boyd wasn’t just a highly-trained sky dog kept on the Pentagon’s tether, ready to be unleashed on the Warsaw Pact at a moment’s notice, salivating at the signal.

In fact, the source of Col. Boyd’s steely resolve came from a deep and unrelenting desire to learn how to manipulate the world around him.

Boyd56

THE BRAIN BEHIND THE BRAWN

You see, Boyd understood that he could only dominate his opponents by understanding the world around him.

So he set about on a quest to discover everything he could about the fields of Science, History, and Philosophy.

In doing so, he didn’t just become America’s toughest sky king…he became its smartest!

Through years and years of belabored research in dim lit libraries and cavernous academic halls, John Boyd would ultimately create a system so revolutionary, it would change the way Western Fighting Men would see the world forever.

What’s more, it was a system so simple, one wonders how no one had come up with it before!

It was a secret hiding in plain sight, passed over by countless others, but revealed to Boyd through his tough tenacity and his genius sleuthing skills. 

It was the legendary OODA Loop.

1920px-OODA.Boyd.svg

THE LEGENDARY OODA LOOP

The OODA Loop is a simple 4 step decision making process. The acronyms stand for each step…

Observe. Orient. Decide. Act.

How exactly does this system work?

Well, let’s imagine that you’re Col. John Boyd and you’re flying in your F-86F Saber jet over some Third World Communist hell hole.

You’re soaring along and everything’s fine, when all of a sudden you Observe a Communist MIG-15 fighter coming up behind you!

You understand that that MIG-15 with the big Communist Red Star on the side is not a friend–he’s an enemy and he’s coming after you! You’ve Oriented yourself to your new reality that you are being hunted!

Now you’ve got to make a decision…you Decide that you are going to use some of your fancy flyboy maneuvers that you’ve perfected to earn your nickname, “40 Second Boyd”, and turn the tables to blast your Communist foe out of the sky!

All that’s left to do is Act it out, and that’s what you do, destroying a foe of freedom and leaving “Genghis John” to fly off into the sunset, ready to fight for law and order yet another day.

THE HIDDEN UNDERSTANDING

Now Col. Boyd understood that once you go through the OODA Loop once, your actions set you up for yet another cycle…

You Observe how your actions have affected your environment, and then you have to Orient yourself to the new reality, presenting you with a Decision to make on how to Act in this new set of circumstances created by your actions in the last OODA Loop.

But it took another warrior from another generation to take this understanding and fit into a system that would work not only for Western Warriors all around the globe, but for the chroniclers of these heroes’ exploits, in both fact and fiction.

Tim Kennedy 2

THE COMMANDO CONQUERS

Sgt. Tim Kennedy is a Green Beret who has seen combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. He’s also a top-ranked UFC fighter–and he’s the kind of guy who likes to give back.

Some might even say that’s his job.

After two decades of helping freedom fighters all across the globe stand up for themselves against dictators and terrorists, Tim Kennedy has turned his attention back home to the place where it all began–America.

He runs an organization called “Sheepdog Response”, a travelling band of Special Operations warfighters and Law Enforcement officers who teaches average joes the skills of Grappling, Firearms Training, and Situational Awareness

And in a bid to empower the average, ordinary, everyday person to protect themselves against the drug lords, criminal enterprises, and school shooters that plague Western Civilization today, Tim Kennedy inadvertently created the perfect system of  relaying the Western Warrior Epic.

THE COMMANDO CREATES

You see, Tim Kennedy created his own OODA Loop system, based off of the original. It’s called AAAA, and it stands for Awareness, Assessment, Act, and Analysis.

Awareness? That’s the same as Observation. You gotta be Aware in order to Observe.

Assessment? That’s the same as Orientation. You Assess your environment and the friends and foes in it in order to Orient yourself to it.

Act? Well, it’s in fact Identical to Col. Boyd’s system! But there is something more there…

How so, you ask?

Because the Decision and Action phases of the OODA Loop are always instantaneously married together.

Why? 

Because you can’t Act without first making the Decision to do so…even if that Decision is a split-second, subconscious, near-subliminal decision about the course of Action that within microseconds you will take.

Finally, we arrive at Analysis. And there, Tim Kennedy puts Col. Boyd’s critical but often missed understanding at the forefront of our minds… 

It’s the understanding that our Actions from the last OODA Loop cycle undeniably affect the operating environment around us!

And it is within this simple understanding that the ultimate system for structuring the Western Warrior Epic was born. 

THE SYSTEMS IN EPIC ACTION!

Just how exactly do these things learned by these Heroes translate into writing the Western Warrior Epic?

Well, let’s take our Hero. He can be a G.I., Cowboy, Spy, Detective, Policeman, Mercenary, Sailor, Spaceman–anything you like. 

Whoever he is, he is above all, in the words of historian Wilhelm Gronbech, “generous, brave, fearless, quick-witted, stern towards his enemies, faithful to his friends, and frank with all.”[1]

You drop him into a new environment…it can be anything. A warzone, the frontier, the mean streets of the urban jungle, a literal jungle, a desert, the sea, the stars….anything.

First, he’s got to Observe his environment, being Aware of his newfound surroundings, and the potential dangers and pitfalls within.

Second, he’s got to Orient himself to his environment, Assessing who are his friends, his foes, and just what exactly are the rules of the newfound world he finds himself in.

Third, he’s got to make a Decision based off of his prior Orientation, and take Action based upon that decision…and not just any Action. Successful Action. He’s got to show the bad guys who’s the boss.

Fourth and finally, he’s got to make an Analysis of how he’s affected his environment based off of his past successful Action. His analysis will discover one of three things. 

First, He might discover new information that leads him a step closer to the big bad guy who’s pulling the strings.[2]

Second, he might discover a “plot twist”, an unexpected new complication that comes out of nowhere like a brick through a plate glass window. This “plot twists” stacks the deck against him–requiring him to test his mettle anew, and see what he’s made of when the chips are down.[3]

Third, he might even discover a combination of these two things, with the unexpected new complication of the plot twist leading to a final showdown with the big bad guy pulling the strings.[4]

HOW IT ALL FITS TOGETHER 

Now, within any Western Warrior Epic, this cycle that combines both Col. Boyd’s OODA Loop and Tim Kennedy’s AAAA System is repeated twice.

Would you like to learn just how this fits into the larger plot scheme of the Four Act Story Structure? 

A system specifically designed for writing the exploits of the Western Warrior Epic, both fact and fiction?

Then tune in next week to meet two obscure characters lost to the sands of time–who will show you exactly how all the puzzle pieces fit!

References

[1] Gronbech, Wilhelm. The Culture of the Teutons. London, England. Oxford University Press, 1931. Pg. 6.

[2] A perfect example of this would be the first 007 adventure, the 1962 classic Dr. No

[3] A perfect example of this would be the Rod Taylor mercenary action-adventure, the 1968 Dark of the Sun.

[4] A perfect example of this would be George Lucas’ original epic space opera, the 1977 classic Star Wars IV: A New Hope.

Image Sources

https://commons.wikimedia.org//wiki/File:JohnBoyd_Pilot.jpg.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Boyd56.jpg.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:OODA.Boyd.svg.

https://taskandpurpose.com/joining-the-military/tim-kennedy-army-recruitment-crisis.

Recommended Resources 

John Boyd and the OODA Loop

Boyd, Col. John R. “Destruction and Creation”. 3rd September, 1976.

Boyd, Col. John R. Discourses on Winning and Losing. Edited and Compiled by Dr. Grant T. Hammond. Maxwell AFB, AL: Air University Press. 2018. 

Coram, Robert. Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War. New York, NY: Back Bay Books, 2004. 

Derek M.C. Yeun. Deciphering Sun Tzu: How to Read the Art of War. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).

 

 

 

 

 

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