Friday, April 30, 2010

Create Better Pulp Now!

Whether you're a writer, designer, artist, screenwriter or whatever you often need the fuel to get off your ass (or on it as the case may be) and create something.  As regular readers of this blog know:


By doing something, learning from the action and the post-game analysis you get to a point in your creative cycle where you aren't daunted by the task.  Where you do it because deep down in the core of your being you've already done this and survived. Now you can just focus on getting better and distinctive.

So since I'm on deadline with about five different things, I thought I would send you off into your weekend with a Top 5 list of ways to get the best pulp out of your head and out into the world.


Don't reinvent the wheel.  Pulp comes with expectations from the audience.  They want to be entertained first and foremost - given a ticket to a fictional roller coaster ride - and they've come to expect that there is a buildup as the cars climb to the top of the hill right before that headlong plunge into adventure or romance or horror or whatever.

If you know the rules you know how to meet then exceed their expectations. Give them the roller coaster ride they'll want to hop back on later, and tell all their friends about.

If you're a writer you must read this.  It works. Screenwriters should also read this.

Artists and designers should go here.  And here.  And definitely here.

Again, know the rules back and forth.  Know what has come before so you can subvert expectation - add that turn to the roller coaster the audience wasn't expecting.


People watch television series and read series books because they want to see their favorite character in new situations.  The plots are important, but it's the characters that keep 'em coming back for more.

Make them memorable. Give them strengths and weaknesses and quirks and touchstones so that people know instantly who they are dealing with...

Then throw a wrench into their expectation machinery.  Let them like who they see or read, but then allow them to discover something else about your character that's surprising yet perfectly plausible.

For artists  this is usually done through character's expressions, their "look" and the overall design. If your character is in a dire situation maybe he's laughing instead of all grim.  Maybe a tattooed Chinese assassin cries after each kill. Maybe a detective solves cases by using just four senses because he's blind.

Maybe ( insert your idea here)...


Pulps give no man time to pause. Just like the roller coaster - once the car tips over the top - pulp is headed on a thrilling plunge through to its final destination.  Twists, turns, flips, complications, decisions... new perspectives for the audience to experience.
Make it fast.  Make it exciting.  Make it have a different perspective that says - this is entertainment. 


You want to write/draw/create better pulp?  Then you'd better create a lot of it.  That means sitting down and actually working on something. Don't put it off. There is no tomorrow.

We ALL fall victim to juggling deadlines and lack of prioritizing.  Make a commitment that you're going to do something every day - preferably at a specific time.  You will be surprised at what a little each day can accomplish.

Three pages a day of screenwriting yields a good first draft script in 30 days.  Ditto for novellas.

 The more you accomplish the better, the more accomplished you will feel.  It isn't impossible it just takes someone willing to take the first step.

Old Chinese saying:

The person who says something is impossible should not interrupt the person who is doing it.
That person who says it's impossible is usually you so shut off that negative voice in your head that tells  you to turn on the tube or play Halo 3 and just do the work.


Pulp writers and artists and serial filmmakers all had one thing in common - as soon as they finished one, they moved onto the next one.  That's how they got paid - by the word.  They didn't worry about whether or not it would sell, they just  kept on with the work knowing the value was in the output. 

In today's world it works the same way. Movie studios with large film libraries are better off than others because they have a constant source of income.  Some movie may not sell now, but others will. Eventually they all sell somewhere.  Employers or galleries want to see a portfolio of work. Agents ask, "What else ya got?"

You can't get hung up on the one because you're too busy building the many.  You want to be productive.  You want to be active in your creativity (especially if you have a day job).

So get out there and create some great pulp no matter what it is that you're doing.

Pulp is not a medium. It's an Extra Large.

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