Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

The Pulp Fiction Formula Presentation – Tomorrow!

Posted by Rampant Coyote on May 27, 2016

SpringIntoBooksAs previously posted, I’ll be at the Spring Into Books event at the Viridian Event Center tomorrow, Saturday May 28th. I’ll be signing books ‘n stuff. So if you happen to be anywhere around West Jordan, Utah… it’s a free event, and there’ll be lots of local authors and presentations on writing. Plus food trucks, a poetry slam, contests, and so forth. It’ll be a party!

I’ll be giving a short presentation called “The Pulp Fiction Formula – Writing Stories that Sell!” at 3:30 in the Parkview Meeting Room 2 (upstairs). If you have no idea what that’s about but are kind of interested… here’s a link to the original text by Lester Dent, AKA Kenneth Robeson, the creator of “Doc Savage.”

The Lester Dent Pulp Fiction Master Plot

WritingPulpFictionCoverI have some firsthand experience with this. I’ve had several stories published now (and, hey, I’m even an award winner!), but I have some other stories that were finding difficulty finding a home. I’m still learning and improving. I’ve known about this methodology for a while, and while it was interesting, it’s a bit loose and archaic. After all, it was published 85 years ago, and at its heart its just a story structure plus writing advice plus a few odds and ends to give it that popular, pulp-style “punch.”

But I was inspired by some of the successes of both the old pulp masters, and more modern authors who had embraced it. I met L. L. Muir in January, and she used it to write (short) novels in 3 days. As had SFF legend Michael Moorcock. Although in both cases, they had their own spin on the system… which is as it should be.

So… I used it, whipped out a cyberpunk short story in a week, sent it in… and it sold within 24 hours. Which probably ruined me for life, as I keep expecting responses in really short time. I tried it again, and that story sold on the first try, too.  That’s definitely not guaranteed with this system, but I’m a convert. I also used it to write the Frayed Knights story, The Thief and the Chalice.


One of the important points is that pulp fiction was pretty much *the* market for genre fiction back in the early to mid 20th century, but while many pulp stories were flavored by that era, a modern “pulp” story doesn’t have to read like Raymond Chandler or Edgar Rice Burroughs. Or have titles like “The Fish Men of Venus” or “Black Amazon of Mars.” Although, hey, all of the above is kind of awesome. Modern pulp should have the trappings that modern audiences expect… good characterization, modern use of language, modern themes and genres, etc.

Ultimately, it’s just plain fun to write a story this way. I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on how it works and how I use it. Hopefully other writers will find it useful. If you are interested and can be there, I’ll see ya at 3:30 tomorrow.



Filed Under: Books, Events, Writing - Comments: 2 Comments to Read

  • Vatina said,

    It’s a shame all these events are at the other end of the world from me, I’d love to see one of them one day and hear your experiences 🙂 I hope it goes well!

  • Anon said,

    “The Pulp Fiction Formula – Writing Stories that Sell!”

    Is that the sequel to “How to write CRPGs that Sell!”?