aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,
aprilhenry
aprilhenry

Formulas

The Writers Almanac had a piece about a guy who made a very fine living for himself about 70 years ago writing pulp stories.

It says, “Dent wrote more than a thousand pulp fiction stories, all with the same formula, which he detailed in an article that explained an exact formula for writing a 6,000-word pulp story.

Here is his formula for the first 1,500 words:
- First line, or as near thereto as possible, introduce the hero and swat him with a fistful of trouble. - - Hint at a mystery, a menace or a problem to be solved — something the hero has to cope with.
- The hero pitches in to cope with his fistful of trouble. (He tries to fathom the mystery, defeat the menace, or solve the problem.)
- Introduce ALL the other characters as soon as possible. Bring them on in action.
- Hero's endeavors land him in an actual physical conflict near the end of the first 1,500 words.
- Near the end of first 1,500 words, there is a complete surprise twist in the plot development."

I think that might work pretty well for a 60,000 word mystery novel, if you just upped the number of words to 15,000.



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