Writing like the pulp writers of old

I’ve made no secret of my admiration for the work ethic and writing speed of the old pulp writers. I’ve posted several articles comparing indie publishing to the spirit of the pulp era in these pages. What is more, I’ve written six novelettes and counting about the misadventures of a pulp writer who has differentiating fiction from reality.

Now Dean Wesley Smith declares that “the second pulp era is upon us” and also shares some tips and tricks for writing at pulp speed as well as some math. It’s a great and inspirational post, even if Smith can’t resist his usual jibes against English teachers (Honestly, what have English teachers ever done to Dean Wesley Smith?).

As for myself, I’m nowhere near writing at pulp speed yet, but I’m getting steadily faster and my daily and monthly wordcount is going up. What is more, I have noticed that the more I write and – more importantly – the more I finish and publish work, the faster I get. Even better, my drafts get cleaner.

November was not a good writing month for me, because I caught what I initially thought was a nasty cold, but which apparently was an early flu bug. The resulting flu knocked me out for nearly two weeks, which significantly affected my productivity. Nonetheless, I will be announcing two new Helen Shepherd Mystery novelettes tomorrow (just waiting for the books to go up on all vendors). And I wrote them mostly from scratch – one had about a thousand words in existence, the other is a brand new story.

Indeed, the whole Helen Shepherd Mysteries series is proof that I’m getting faster. Because until I wrote The Cork and the Bottle as an eight hour fiction challenge story in August, the Helen Shepherd Mysteries series didn’t exist. Indeed, The Cork and the Bottle was initially planned as a one-off story. It was only when I had an idea for another mystery in September that I decided to reuse the characters. After all, I already had a team of investigators in place, so why make up another?

Since then, in the space of four months, the Helen Shepherd Mysteries have grown to a series as six short mysteries of 50000 words altogether. And they weren’t the only works I wrote and published in that period either. Of course, it helps that I find the Helen Shepherd Mysteries very quick to write, whereas e.g. the Shattered Empire stories take me a lot longer. I’ve explained a bit about my process writing the Helen Shepherd Mysteries and why I can do it fairly fast in this post here.

So no, I’m not writing at pulp speed yet. But I’m levelling up to it.

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1 Response to Writing like the pulp writers of old

  1. Pingback: More on writing at pulp speed | Pegasus Pulp

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