Category Archives: Pulp Fiction

ON “THE SIMPLE ART OF MURDER”

Even if you aren’t writing hardboiled detective, crime, or mystery stories, I think pulp grandmaster Raymond Chandler’s 1950 introduction to “The Simple Art of Murder” is a must-read. Here he dissects the traditional mystery and really seems to be dismantling … Continue reading

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PLEASE STOP SHITTING ON GENRE FICTION

Imagine my surprise when I read “Beyond the Plot: Craft Tricks of Great Commercial Thrillers” by Cassidy Lucas at, of all places, Crime Reads. Short reviews of a few “acceptable” genre novels follow this nonsense: Deconstructing the craft of literary … Continue reading

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WHERE TO BEGIN?

I’ve written before on the subject of a story’s first line, or a novel’s first paragraph, and starting a story—pulp fiction style—with a “bang,” but there’s really no way to overstate both the importance of the first line or first paragraph … Continue reading

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I WILL WRITE THAT NOVEL

I’ve written here before that we should remind ourselves that writing fiction—especially genre fiction—should be fun, that we should get in touch with a sense of play—and in recent weeks this has come back to me for a few different reasons. … Continue reading

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SUBSCRIBE TO A LITERARY MAGAZINE

Many, many years ago… hundreds of years before the dawn of history… a struggling young author, fed up with his undeniably brilliant short stories being rejected by all the fancy gatekeepering magazines, and inspired by the punk rock fanzines of … Continue reading

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DEFINING MY TERMS

It’s rather funny how a word sometimes sneaks into a family and gets itself adopted. Where does it come from, I wonder? I’d very much like to know. —Jean Cocteau, Intimate Relations (Les parents terribles) In pretty much all of my writing … Continue reading

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A WEIRD STORY MINI-FORMULA

In my look, last April, at the book Science Fiction Handbook, Revised, by L. Sprague de Camp & Catherine de Camp (Owlswick Press, 1975), I wrote: Speaking of the pulp tradition, the de Camps quote Jack Williamson and Edmund Hamilton’s “formula” for a science fiction story … Continue reading

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JUST THROWING THIS STUFF OUT THERE…

“Work as joy, inaccessible to the psychologists.” —Kafka Okay, I have to admit it, I haven’t put a lot of thought into this week’s post, but damn it, I’m going to post something of value! I’ve just been super swamped with multiple … Continue reading

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WHAT CAN YOU GET AWAY WITH IN FICTION?

Great question, easy answer: Anything. In fact, the question itself is silly. You don’t have to feel you’re “getting away with” anything. An epic fantasy novel featuring a gender-fluid protagonist? Why not? In fact, the only argument against is necessarily … Continue reading

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THE PULP GENRES: AN (ALMOST) COMPLETE LIST

This week, how about a look back at my still indefinitely on-hold Pulp Fiction Workshop. As part of the rundown on the history of the pulps, I made a quick rundown of at least most of the broader genre categories … Continue reading

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