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Farm ownership questions!(Are horse stories still loved?)

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Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:08 pm
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Justlittleoleme2 says...

Hey there. ^-^

So, I was sitting around trying to decide what to write. I remembered that horse stories were my favorite when I was a kid, and so I started writing one, ignoring that little voice inside that said, "Horse stories are cliche! Horse stories are lame!".

Anyway, can a well written honest down to earth horse story stand out from the crowd? Are little girls still in love with horses the way I was? Just wondering.


my story starts after a horse farm has fallen into disrepair. The main character's father, who ran the whole show, passed away and the whole endeavor collapsed with him.

In my story, the main character's mother saw horse farming as nothing but a money hole anyway, and so she sold all the horses and decided her family should try growing organic produce instead.

Was that a reasonable decision? Would organically grown produce be less of a money hole than horses? Just wondering.

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Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:38 pm
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Holysocks says...

Hey there! I grew up on a ranch, but it was a fairly small ranch. I also enjoyed horse stories for a little while when I was younger, but usually they did feel very very cliche and the same sort of things happened in all of them.

Pretty much most kinds of farming is hard to make a living at. I'm not sure about organic produce because I don't have experience in that. But uh, there would probably be a LOT of regulations and stuff a person would have to follow and go through in order to call their produce "organic".

Also most farms specialise in one thing or another. For instance, I know someone that has a potato field and garlic field- and that's it. It's hard to make a real amount of something if there's all different kinds of veggies every which way. Unless it's a more touristy/people oriented place that's more of a you-pick type place... but I don't think those places are normally organic.

But to be honest, I think there would be more money in horses (if you know what you're doing) than in produce. But then again, depends.

And back the the question of "can a horse story be anything but cliche and do people still find them interesting?" (not exactly your words, but you know what I mean) And my answer is of course! Though familiarise yourself with the common cliches in those types of stories such as: the teen girl who is abnormally amazing with horses and even if the horse is completely wild the girl manages to ride it at some point. Or the girl who has to save this one horse that's destined for [insert something horrible here], or the dad who orders the girl to stay away from X horse because "he's too dangerous" but she goes against him and secretly sees the horse and the horse accidentally hurts her and now it's for sure in trouble. Or the super awesome horse-whisperer guy who the MC likes but pretends she hates.

My advice: tell a story. If there's horses in that story, great. Just make sure you have a good set of characters that have their own conflicts and everything and let the setting be more of a setting. If that makes sense. c:
I hope it's a good joke because otherwise I'll have got it for nothing...

WARNING: Do not take grammar advice from me... EVER.

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Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:02 am
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ChieRynn says...

I'm offended that people dare say horse stories are lame

But like Holy said, as long as the plot is good and you have a good set of characters, you're off to a good start! You can twist thing around to make it not like the usual horse stories you see floating around.

Also if you need horsey term definitions ask me please, I love doing that kind of thing and actually own 3 horses so yes. And yes yes, little girls still love horses. I'm giving lessons to two horse crazy girls and teaching them to ride. HORSE LOVERS UNITE.
"No matter how much you think you know about horses, there will always be one that'll come along and teach you something new."

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Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:07 am
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YingYangGroove78 says...

No way! I absolutely loved (and still do have a soft spot) for horse stories. I grew up reading them as I am completely horse mad... so of course I will say go for it.
who cares if some people may say its lame, just write what you enjoy writing.

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Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:22 am
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Rosendorn says...

You can actually google the answers for solid hard facts and numbers like this. Look up "farm income by type" to get data like this, where you can see average incomes, and navigate by type of farm on the left. That data is Canadian because I am Canadian and those are my results, but you can regionalize it by adding in a country in your search fields.
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Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:28 am
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Kale says...

I think every girl goes through a horse-crazy phase at some point, and some girls never grow out of it. Girls being crazy about horses is a stereotype in and of itself.

On a side note, in the US at least, there is actually very little regulation as to what constitutes "organic" farming or produce. It's almost purely a marketing term from a legal standpoint, especially since the aspects of farming which are regulated are typically along the lines of "you cannot use X practice or pesticide" because those practices or pesticides have been documented as very harmful.

Some of my neighbors often commented about how just tacking on the "organic" in front of their produce let them charge triple the regular rate, even though they'd been growing said produce exactly the same since the time of their great grandparents (mainly because pesticides are disproportionately expensive for small farms and it's not like manure is in short supply, so why pay for fertilizer).

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Wed Jan 17, 2018 4:04 am
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LadyBird says...

On the cliche scale from 1 to 10, most horse stories are about a 25.
If you think I'm joking, you would be right on almost any other day of the week, but today I'm laying down some serious things.

The important thing to always note in statements anyone makes is "most", because this gives the possibility of you not falling into all of the pitfalls of cliche. But in writing something you mark as a horse story and know the issues of, tells me your plot is leaning towards the way that might be cliche.

There's plenty of horse stories I've read that were good and set in the Calvary or something similar. (Most notably there is War Horse.). When set against a historical background, they go over better because the relationshup between the horse and the main character has all the overtones of "war, peace and being alone".

But they're still cliche.
You can't get around the cliche but you can lessen it by not having a romantic subplot and avoiding the tells of teen fiction.
That's what I've got for there.

And adding onto what @kyllorac has said about farming, being from a super long line of farmers, and also doing research for so many essays, 'organic' and 'heirloom' are nothing new.
There's the whole deal of using pesticides and that farmers over do it, but that crap is still expensive and with regulations, you can't use very much. Most farms around here either do it the way they always have or do it 90% the way they always have and add in some pesticides cause it's Florida and we have a lot of stuff going on.

I grouped organic and heirloom together because they always seem to come up together. Organic supposedly means no fertilizer or chemical introduction and it's got the whole vibe to it people like, but by doing so many things, it ends up being expensive. At least it's really expensive here where Florida crops do so much better with some pesticides and the whole crop not dying and sucking up more water and resources.

My neighbors are all farmers and the family to the left are organic farmers. They're doing good now but getting into the market, is the tough thing that has to be considered, and is often wiped from books. Any sort of realism above situations like this are wiped from horse books since they're basically fairy tales, if they're about a teenage girl with one parent.

So with the farming, it all comes down to what they're selling. My neighbors to cows, hogs, chickens and some vegetables. Again, that's like 5 decades of building things up. So for the purposes of your story and depending where it's set, you need a single crop in some demand that grows well in the state

If you choose somewhere like Indiana, you can choose legit anything to grow outside of citrus or pineapples. I lived there for 3 years with a 1 acre garden and we grew everything from green beans to corn to 10 types of it peppers. Indiana is a good state to set anything in because you can mold it, create a fake town and it'll sound legit.
That's beside the point.

Here's what you need to take into consideration:
-how many cliches there are concerning horse stories
-knowing you have to fall into a few
-organic is kinda a tough market because everyone wants to do it
-specialize your crop
-make it appropriate for the region
Ex: don't grow pineapples and mangos in Wisconsin
-figure out how it will fit into the overall plan if the mother sounds really free inrhe wind
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Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:44 am
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Megrim says...

On the farming side, I think others have that covered. The farm would definitely be specialized. I don't know about produce, but I know a lot about livestock farming, and organic livestock farming is a huuuuge headache and very expensive. In New Zealand, getting the full certification takes a nearly three-year conversion period, with intense regulations and stepwise procedure for each year. There are HUGE issues with parasites, because they can't use parisiticides, and with dairy farming, mastitis is a similar major, major issue that can drain income for years and years and years while the farmers battle it. I assume crop produce suffers similar issues with plant diseases. Organic farming is ALL about preventative measures, because once something hits, it spreads like wildfire because you have no way to deal with it. And back to the cows as an example, sometimes you just plain have to use real-world Western medicine to SAVE THE COW'S LIFE (I'm not bitter at all, can you tell?), and then the cow can NEVER be considered organic again. Treat it with a one week course of antibiotics to save its life, which will be out of its system in a month, and it has to be moved to an isolation paddock from then on and you can never, ever, ever sell its milk as organic even five years later. So yeah, takeaway is, organic is all about marketing/being trendy, not about good farming practice. That means big headaches and big bills.

Now, onto the horse story concerns...

Have you completed a novel before, from start to finish? If no, then stop worrying and just write it.

If yes, what's the plan for this novel? You going to pitch it to agents and publishers? If no, then stop worrying and just write it. :)

If yes, just write it anyway. Then when you're finished, take everything you've learned, and write something else.

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