14 October 2008

Just in time for NaNoWriMo

From "The Writer's Almanac":

Lester Dent wrote more than a thousand pulp fiction stories, all with the same formula, which he detailed in an article that explained an exact formula for writing a 6,000-word pulp story.

Here is the formula for the first 1,500 words:

1. First line, or as near thereto as possible, introduce the hero and swat him with a fistful of trouble. Hint at a mystery, a menace or a problem to be solved — something the hero has to cope with.
2. The hero pitches in to cope with his fistful of trouble. (He tries to fathom the mystery, defeat the menace, or solve the problem.)
3. Introduce ALL the other characters as soon as possible. Bring them on in action.
4. Hero's endeavors land him in an actual physical conflict near the end of the first 1,500 words.
5. Near the end of first 1,500 words, there is a complete surprise twist in the plot development.

1 comment:

Brett said...

For exciting pulp adventure that features Lester Dent I recommend Paul Malmont's Chinatown Death Cloud Peril which features Mr. Dent and his wife as well as his rival Walter Gibson and every other pulp writer you have ever heard of. Really brilliant book if you haven't read it. Better than Cats, you will want to read it again and again.