First of all, I’ve been interviewed by British crime fiction writer J.T. Baptiste for the 12 days of crime series on her blog. We talk about writing, reading, favourite characters, Edgar Wallace movies and Dr. Mabuse, who is one of my all-time favourite villains. Also keep checking back, because a new interview with a crime fiction writer will be posted every day until Christmas. Up today is John Hindmarsh.
A few days ago, I linked to Dean Wesley Smith’s post about writing at what he terms pulp speed, i.e. being as prolific as the pulp writers of old.
The post caused the usual controversy that Dean Wesley Smith posts always seem to cause at KBoards with people nodding along and saying “This is interesting” and “Hey, maybe I could write more”, until one of the usual haters showed up to point out for the umpteenth time why Smith is wrong, wrong, wrong, because his advice doesn’t necessarily fit in with received indie author wisdom.
In the meantime, Smith himself has expanded on his original pulp speed post and what is necessary to achieve it in one of his regular Writing in Public posts. Indeed, the daily Writing in Public posts usually contain some good information beyond mere wordcount and progress metrics.
Actually, that’s also how I’ve decided to view the post. I may not be able to write at pulp speed every day or even most days (though I did hit pulp speeds the past few days). But over the past few months, I’ve found that writing faster and becoming more prolific also means that my drafts are becoming cleaner. And it’s a great feeling to just jump into a story and keep going until it’s done.
In August 2014, I wrote The Cork and the Bottle, a short mystery, for an eight hour fiction challenge. Eventually, this short mystery blossomed into a 6 part series. That’s almost 50000 words of crime fiction that I neither had nor had even planned this time last year. And the series is selling.
I spent most of December so far translating last year’s Christmas romance Christmas Gifts into German (expect the official announcement in the next few days).
Once I was finished with the translation and was looking for a new project to focus on, I came across a half-baked idea about a selkie foundling (inspired by the abandoned seal pups regularly found on the German and Dutch North Sea coasts) and a story start of not quite thousand words. So I decided to work on this story and turned it into a complete novelette within the space of about three days, writing at pulp speed.
Again, this isn’t a story that was in my new release plans at all. Last-Minute-Geschenke, the German edition of Christmas Gifts, was to be the last Pegasus Pulp release for the year with a new Shattered Empire story hopefully coming out sometime in January.
However, now I have a standalone selkie story, which I hope to get out before the holidays. And that’s a great feeling.
For those who need inspiration and/or confirmation that pulp speed is possible, the Barnes & Noble Book Blog discusses six of the most prolific authors of all time.
Personally, I find their list rather flawed, since some of the most prolific pulp writers like Earle Stanley Gardner, Walter B. Gibson, Max Brand and his many pen names or William Wallace Cook are missing. Ditto British paperback phenomenon Lionel Fanthorpe and Germany’s own Helmut Rellergerd a.k.a. Jason Dark. And why list Stephen King, but not the equally prolific Nora Roberts? Finally, I was convinced that R.L. Stine, the Goosebumps writer, was a housename much like Francine Pascal.
Finally, if you need some more inspiration, check out this article by Ian Fleming about how to write a thriller from 1963.