Friday, March 27, 2020

What Makes A Story Dark?

Gangster, Tough, Per, Gang, Attitude, Toughness
'Dark' is an oft-seen descriptor for books, comics, movies, games and television shows these days. These media are usually packed with violence, swearing, sex scenes and the like. But does that really make a story dark?

As I made my way through old runs of the Punisher -- specifically the MAX runs, the runs filled to the max with violence and gore and obscenities and random sex -- I must say that the answer is no.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

The Quest for Pulp Speed Continues!

Pencil, Sharpener, Notebook, Paper, Education, Supplies
Write fast, write well, write often.

This is Pulp Speed, the foundation of pulp-style writing. With a hungry market always eager for more fiction, the pulp writer earns his bread by feeding the market everything it wants, as quickly as he can.

To survive in the cutthroat business of pulp writing in the 1920s, writers had to write fast. The pulps published on a weekly, biweekly or monthly schedule, churning out a doorstopper chock-full of short stories, novellas and full-length novels. If you couldn't write fast enough for their publishing schedule, someone else will.

Friday, March 13, 2020

How to Create Believable Character Flaws

Hollow City: A Superhero Vigilante Thriller (Heroes Unleashed: Song of Karma Book 1) by [Cheah, Kai Wai, Plutarch, Thomas]
Conventional wisdom states that characters should be flawed. Nobody can relate to perfect people. Flawed characters are more believable, more likely to gain the reader's sympathies. But the conventional wisdom doesn't teach how.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Indie Short Fiction: Alpdruck! by Michael Reyes and Pour Down Like Silver by Cynthia Ward

In our project of reviving pulp fiction, or of revolutionizing it or revealing it or revolting against the modern world with it, it's not always firm what pulp is.

(It's paper, basically. Cheap paper. Print a story on it and your plots are 60% more masculine and adventurous. Try it and see if it works.)

It's not that we rediscovered the fistfight. It's not that the strong male archetype was wiped out by court order. The pulp mojo was in something else, something not easy to classify. One aspect is what I like to call "thrift," by which I mean how many words are used to express each concept, or how many outside sources you need to have read to get what's going on.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Bayani Part 10

Kerala, Traditional, India, Kalaripayattu, Martial Art

The battle ended shortly thereafter. Or maybe after a lifetime.
Perhaps both.
Panting, his muscles aching at a point beyond fatigue, Bayani finally lowered his weapons. His sword and knife were soaked through with the gore of who knew how many men. Blood soaked him head to foot. He wasn’t sure how, but he had picked up a few cuts. Nothing fatal, perhaps scratches from jungle plants, or nearly-successful blows.
For the first time in Bayani’s experience, the Maestro was short of breath. Slowly, steady, Alejandro wiped off the blood on his blades and put them away. The Maestro would have fresh scars for his collection, and Bayani shuddered. This was the true price of mastery of the blade, he realized. Either you learned quickly or you died.
“Are you okay, Maestro?” Bayani asked, his voice hoarse and dry.
Alejandro nodded, staggering over to where he had dropped his backpack. He pulled out a small tin canteen, popped the cork and drank deep. Then he thrust it out at Bayani. “Drink.”