Friday, May 31, 2013

Yet More About The Golden Age Of Pulp

Back when I was a movie geek, there was  a distinction between low budget and I guess schlock. Alot of people would confuse the two. I was a fan of schlock and was well schooled in the purveyors of such cinema.

I am finding that there  is the same confusion in writing about pulp. And maybe it is because over time many variations of the genre have been created.

Since I have gone back to the source, I have come to the conclusion that the only true pulp is that of the Golden Age. The era of G Men, Masked Avengers, Space Opera, Far East Adventures and Yellow Peril. To me right now there is no substitute.

Don't get me wrong, I love all the other stuff, like Goodis and Thompson. But that is literature compared to the earlier pulps. I would even lump Spillane in with that class.

Real Pulp's mission is to entertain in a fantastic way. As a result, the plots should be very over the top, and in some cases ridiculous. There should be good and evil on display and the distinctions between the two should be crystal clear. So, not a whole lot of noir. The prose should be dramatic and to use one of my favorite terms, very "purple".   As expressed by Lester Dent, you need to capture the sounds, smells and scenery in vivid detail.  But, while you are doing that, you have to keep things fairly clean.

I am enjoying my stay in Pulp Land and plan to be here awhile.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Scandalous Silence

As I said yesterday, this is the title of my new Huey story. I have to say I 'm a dog with a bone... and it's a cotton candy flavored one. Why would I not think I would have a blast writing about Huey again? The words flow and they taste like honey fresh from the hive. I am just loving the language of this piece. It's an aural pleasure. You know have a great story when you wile away the hours reading what you have written, over and over again.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Reunion With The Clown

Yesterday I started writing Scandalous Silence, my latest Huey Dusk story. Honestly,  I figured on taking a long break from writing about my favorite funster. But, unexpected opportunities truncated the vacation. And I'm glad they did. I'm surprised, but at the same time thrilled with how much fun it is writing about Huey again. I've written about him so much that he now talks to me-- which is a reversal of what I usually feel about my characters in that it is usually me who talks to them and tells them what to do. This time the pugnacious punchinello has arrested creative control and is directing this story. OK, I'll stop with the pretentiousness and alliteration.

Sometimes it is good to take a break. Writing my previous two stories gave me lots of perspective on pulp and noir. This perspective has definitely been baked into this story. More specifically, I like the prose. It's the usual spareness as with the other Huey tales, but at the same time it's a little more loose and zesty and naturally incorporates the Spillane voice that I try imitate for Huey. But it's not just imitation. I feel I have added my own gumball, cotton candied toughness that is appropriate for the mean circus streets Dusk walks.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Doc Savage

Along with a  renewed interest in paperback books, I am also discovering  good old Doc Savage by Kenneth Robeson aka Lester Dent . I loved Doc Savage even though some the covers from the seventies editions were creppy-- especially the art for the book "Hex" which has Doc holding a bloody dagger. Ahh the memories!

Doc Savage is as pulpy as you can get and the prose is so purple it is bruised. I am becoming such a fan of purple prose the same way John Waters is a fan of bad taste. I look forward to reporting more about Doc Savage as I read more.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Long Haul

While I am enjoying reading over the draft of my current story, I'm realizing I have a long way to go. I am sure if I wanted to, I could clean this draft up a little, send it in for final editing and submit it as another novella. But that's not what I want to do. It's time to stretch myself-- and by stretch myself I mean it is time to turn what I have written into a novel. This entails thinking more about the piece and seeing all the avenues I can explore when telling this tale. I also, in the second draft, want to apply something I heard last night at my writer's group: don't just describe something, live it. That's what I want to do in this story, live it. I think the more I live this narrative, the more credible it becomes to the reader; and the more I can amplify it.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Convergence Of Prose Styles For The Doomsday Gizmo

As  I read through the first rough draft of my current story(rough being the operative word) I am noticing there is a collision of writing styles taking place. The clash is interesting. The prose is part Spillane tough guy, part dramatic and exaggerated purple prose, part hipster jazz, and part spine tingling cinematic horror, on the level of something you might see at a drive in movie years ago.

What I believe I have achieved is a true pulptastic piece. I truly feel that when I read through this draft I am hearing Whit Howland's voice and not others. Granted, the writing needs some refinement and the styles need to be blended into a palatable literary "smoothie", but it is hard not to marvel at my handy work.

With retro pulp, I believe I have found my happy place. Almost as happy as when I am writing about Huey Dusk. I can't stress how much fun I am having crafting this tale, and how much fun I will have penning the other stories in this series. It's just pure enjoyment!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Dealing With Other Story Ideas

These days I like to stick to one story at a time. That is hard. So many ideas whip around in my head while I am working on a piece. The funny thing is that they never materialize when I'm between stories.  So, here is how I address this situation( I say situation and not problem because I think getting ideas is always a great thing and it doesn't matter when they come).

Years ago I used to keep a computer file of synopsises. But today that doesn't work because I find those ideas buzz in my ears like gnats and I eventually and start writing a first page of a story I will never finish. Here is what I today.

Now I go to my Write It Now Program and I start planning the second story. I mean meticulously planning it. I do this in my off hours when I am not working on my other story. Out of this plan comes an exhaustive outline. And I do a template for the story as well. Once all of this is done, I just leave it and go back to writing my current piece. Eventually I finish a draft of the story I am working on, and after a week's break, I go to the notes of my other story idea and I begin writing my first chapter based on the outline that I created days ago. Then the story, to use a shop worn cliche, practically writes sitself.

This strategy is responsible for my ever increasing story output. I don't know to me it's actually so important to see your ideas through.