You shouldn’t try to write the style of pulp. It’s purple prose, bad writing for readers today.
However, as these books say, parts of their methods we could learn from:
Pulp writers produced much content as fast as they could to pay their bills. Costs were lower than today, but the funds were too. If one story was rejected, others were ready to try their luck at the same time.
Another aspect of speed:
Quantity, Not Quality
We do this for NaNoWriMo. When you crank out so much material in a short time, you don’t wait for only your best work. If it’s readable, it goes out. The more you do, the better it gets.
Jump Straight to the Action
In their speed, pulp writers also don’t use prologues or character introspection. Those are, in their view, for literary works. Instead, these writers usually start with action. If it has to be explained, that comes later in the tale.
The action gets you in first.
Maybe we should all be like them.
I’m a commercial writer, not an author. Margaret Mitchell was an author. She wrote one book.
I began a novel in 2013. I finished the first draft in early 2014, and didn’t touch it again until November 2018.
As I’ve mentioned many times, I’ve been in the Montreal chapter of NaNoWriMo since 2012 and won it four years in a row. All the times I’ve done it filled me with confidence to go to the step of going forward to a finished novel.
It’s 2019. I Still Haven’t Finished It
In 2009 I won a Prix Boreal/Aurora for a newsletter I write called The Original Universe. Because of medical and other reasons I stopped. I want to relaunch it. As a result, I started to write it ages ago. There’s a problem with that, however…
It Sat on My HD Forever
Ninja Writing to the rescue! Fist, so that you don’t feel that I’m inventing a term:
What Ninja Writing Is
There are a few different methods named this term. The one I use was created by Shaunta Grimes. She was inspired by the prolific writer Ray Bradbury.
During his life he wrote a lot of short stories, collected into books like The Martian Chronicles, Dandelion Wine, Something Wicked This Way Comes… many short stories I’ve read in many publications.
He was a big proponent of the notion of writing and reading daily:
Based on his words, we write for 10 minutes every day, and read for another 10.
Why 10? Many potential writers get intimidated and overwhelmed by the idea of writing for longer.
If you write 10 minutes per day it’s easier to do it than to ignore it. With a time commitment like that, you may find you get a lot done. You can then work on other things.
Thanks to this:
My novel is now into editing. I’ve started Act Two.
My newsletter is now mostly written.
Give this method a try. The results may surprise you. Your writing, because you’re doing it regularly, will also improve.
I haven’t posted here in a long while. Medium with it’s bigger audience lured me away. I’m trying to fix that…
Cue the Ennio Morricone music…
The Gor novels are mostly forgotten nowadays (although Politically Incorrect Games [P.I.G.] have released a Gor game; l have to find the email). I’m not surprised. The series began well, got bad very fast, and became worse after.
Gor is also called Counter-Earth. It’s in the same orbit as Earth, just equidistant on the opposite side of the sun, so we’ll never see it. The planet has a lower gravity than Earth.
The civilizations are a mixture of Roman, Greek, Native American and Viking, other cultures too, transplanted by spaceship from our Earth by an insectoid race that they call the Priest Kings. They are allowed to advance in architectural, agricultural and medical skills (including life extension), but are forced to remain primitive in the fields of transportation, communication and weaponry (at approximately the level of Classical Mediterranean civilization) due to restrictions on technology imposed by the Priest-Kings. This limitation is imposed to ensure the safety of both the Priest-Kings, as well as the other indigenous and transplanted beings on Gor who would otherwise possibly come to harm due to humans’ belligerent tendencies.
This was the first novel. Written by John Norman — the pseudonym of Dr. John Lange, a professor of philosophy and a classical scholar — it drew a lot from the Barsoom novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs (although poorly marketed, the movie John Carter was based on the series.
John Norman’s main character here, Tarl Cabot, was loosely inspired by John Carter (I may be wrong about that).
This was the Good. Then it went bad, and quickly.
“I’m not for censorship but I am for strategies which marginalize stuff that works to objectify women and suggests women enjoy being beaten.-
Around the fourth book, it got its own style. Unfortunately, not a good one: women were often slaves, often beaten until they were docile and submissive (often by the hero of the novel) and fell in love with the men who beat them.
This may make them popular among the alt-right, but for those of us more enlightened, it’s disgusting.
I stopped reading the series then, but from what I’ve read on Wikipedia, it gets worse.
and The Ugly
Science fiction/fantasy author Michael Moorcock has suggested that the Gor novels should be placed on the top shelves of bookstores Later books became (I’m quoting Wikipedia here) “sadomasochistic pornography”. The author claimed to draw inspiration from philosophy, Earth history, Homer, Freud and Nietzsche… then came in with… this.
Surprisingly, this series not only got reprinted in several languages, and is a strong seller in Ebooks… but before I did research for this article, I’d mostly forgotten.
Full disclosure here: in the past, I wasn’t a huge fan of the band — but as I listened to all of their hits, I realized that I WAS.
Before anybody else points it out: writing songs is hard. I can be poetic in my writings, but I’m not good at poetry… and songwriting is even more difficult. I tried to write some in the past, but I wasn’t very good.
Gord Downey wrote songs for over 30 years — for 14 albums and more EPs and singles.
Even more admirable: his body was failing more and more every day; he still performed a concert tour across Canada — plus he performed 90 songs, where most people sing 45 songs at most.
He was one of the hardest working men in the music industry, and one who used his celebrity to bring more notice to the mistreatment of our First Nations brethren.
After the last time that I said that I intended to update this blog more often, I stayed away even longer!
Mea culpa – – but this time, there’s a reason. A good one: since May of this year (2017) I’ve been part of a group that posts on Medium. It’s just like blogging, but it has a much larger potential audience. I will still post here (in fact I’ll re-post relevant content here), but the greater exposure appeals to me.
I haven’t updated this blog with new content in a long time. Both my short story and my novel have been stalled. I hope to get a habit of regular writing started again.
The blog was due to burnout. Although this blog I’ve been publishing on for more than 3 years, I’ve grown exhausted at continuing that schedule proved to be tiring.
My Steps to Solving That
I’ve begun a new content calendar to get this (and other social media) onto a more regular posting schedule. In the past, I just posted online at random times. Hopefully, I won’t from now on.
To help me to post here more often, I’ll prepare several posts before I launch them here, so I’ll have a bank of pieces to post every week. In the past, I would prepare one piece at a time; as a result, I would always have the pressure to update while the content suffered. This way, that pressure will be lessened.
That’s one piece of my new writing strategies:
Short story collection (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
These too sat around untouched for a long time. Far too long.
The Reason for My Long Delay
The reason is also proof that I’m truly a writer: self-doubt.What is that? It’s something that many other writers have experienced (including the far-better-than-I Neil Gaiman): a voice in my head – and in many others – says that we’re not good enough, we can’t finish what we start either.
English writer Neil Gaiman. Taken at the 2007 Scream Awards. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The voice is crippling. I didn’t touch my novel for over a year as a result.
How I’m Solving That (regular writing)
Two things are helping The first is one we’ve always used for NaNoWriMo: ignore it.
There we call it our Internal Editor and do our best to not pay attention to it.
The other thing that I’m doing is that I joined a group called Ninja Writers. They have a pretty active Facebook Group [here], and also a Patreon that I’ve joined.
Ninja Writers is based off a philosophy espoused by the late Ray Bradbury:
Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens.
The basic idea is that every day I write for 10 minutes and I also read for another 10. The idea isn’t that new. I’m a member of another Group called 10 Minute Novelists [here], and I bought a book about starting a similar writing habit of 8 minutes per day.
Regardless of the amount of time, the important thing is to build up a regular habit of writing. I have to rebuild mine. Plus: so far, it helped me to finish the first draft of my novel, and to break my inertia on the short story for my e-mail list.
I thank Ninja Writers for that. I’m back to regular writing because of it.
I realize that I’ve said I was restarting before. I hope that this time it works.