Lester Dent on writing pulp

This is something I read a couple of years back but forgot to bookmark, and I’ve been looking for it again for some time because I couldn’t remember who wrote it: The Lester Dent Pulp Paper Master Fiction Plot.

Lester Dent was the writer of the ‘Doc Savage’ novels, and while pulp fiction tends to get dull after you’ve read enough of it, I think his ‘master plot’ here is worth a look by any aspiring writer; the most important elements such as rising menace, showing not telling, ‘shovelling grief’ onto the hero, making every word count etc are important in any genre other than experimental fiction that only three people will ever read (and two of those are your relatives).

I think I’m going to take his advice and write a short story following his formula just to see how it comes out.


Giving offence

There was a long thread today on the Kindle Boards about the perils of posting religious or political opinions and thereby losing readers who take offence at those opinions.

That makes no sense to me. Every book is going to offend someone; even if you write happy, fluffy romance, you’ll offend people who think that women should be beaten and locked up if they look at a man. I would rather offend people on my web sites so they don’t buy my books than have them buy the books and then post bad reviews all over the web because they found the books offensive.

I think it only really becomes a problem when an author is fanatical about something. Richard Dawkins is an example who springs to mind; he’s written some great books and his beliefs about evolution are probably right, but I lost respect for him when he became a militant atheist.


War Show has a mind of its own and I’ve been writing it whenever I had to take a break to think about Horror Movie; it’s a relatively easy job since I outlined the whole story a few years ago when we were considering making it as a movie.

However, to avoid going around in circles, I think I should set a schedule to try to get everything done by:

End March: Horror Movie
End June: War Show
End October: Highgate Horror

Shorts: Whenever I have time to finish one.

After that I should really work on some pure SF novels

Now that I have two thirds of Horror Movie basically done and much of the rest in a state where I can revise it to fit the new changes, that shouldn’t be hard to achieve. It gives me two weeks to finish the second draft and a month to edit.

Horror Movie

Horror Movie is heading toward a resolution at last; I’ve had to make some major revisions to fit the changes to the antagonist, but I’ve finally got one that works. I should get the second draft finished this month and then I can revise it next month and hopefully get it out around the end of March.

Which would be good because that’s approximately a year from when I started it. The next novel should be much faster as I have a complete rough outline from when I was going to write it as a movie script a few years back.


Boy I’m getting spammed hard tonight: as fast as I’ve been flagging comments new ones have been coming in…

I was thinking a couple of days ago that the flood of spam had slowed and perhaps the spammers had forgotten me, so I guess this is Bob’s way of punishing me for such naive thoughts.