Writing Pulp


In crawling the Internet over the last few days, I’ve stumbled upon Michael Moorcocks’s discussion on how to write a book in three days as well as Lester Dent’s Master Plot Outline.

I have a soft spot for the pulps. I read a metric ton of them when I was a kid, and I still get distracted in the used bookstores when I stumble across a stack of them (especially some of those lurid covers). They were (and still are, really) throw-away fiction. The sort of thing that was meant to be read in an afternoon, and written in a not much longer span of time. They tend to either be tightly tied to their structure (Dent’s outline), or go off into the weeds (ala Moorcock’s model). I think you have a lot of opportunity in the pulps to come up with really weird shit. You’re not trying to change the world; you’re trying to entertain someone for an afternoon. And pay your bills.

I know the romance market shows no sign of slowing down, and they’ve got their own rigid structure that works for them. I suppose it can be argued that boys don’t read much anymore. They’re all off playing video games (like Three Rings’ Spiral Knights, for example).

But after a few years of playing video games, I find they lack the energy of the pulps. Of course, if I could figure out a way to put the pulps into video games, I’d be able to change the world, but that would require people wanting to read, wouldn’t it?

It’s always something.

Still, I’m thinking about pulps.