Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky. (slithytove) wrote,
Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.

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Lester Dent was a pulp writer of the 1930's and 1940's, probably most famous for the Doc Savage series of novels. You may have run across The Lester Dent Pulp Paper Master Fiction Plot, in which he tells how he structures a 6K word short story.

It's worth thinking about. Dent seems to be saying that he wrote all his stories to this model. I think readers would be bored if you did that today, and I can think of a ton of stories that differ greatly from this model that I consider great stories. Still, although these techniques may seem very crude, I'm seeing stuff here I've heard before, in other contexts.

The hero keeps getting hurt, worse and worse.
The hero has to struggle.
The story doesn't dawdle: the hero gets hit with conflict immediately, and the major players are introduced in the first 1500 words.
The writer has to do something new, not just what every other writer has done.
Every word must count.
Authoritative specific details to ground the story.

Plus, although Dent was writing the cheesiest, cheapest, pulpiest fiction that ever sold for 25 cents for a magazine printed on stock barely better than toilet paper, he still tries to get you to 'show, don't tell'.

Two ways in which it seems to differ from modern genre writing advice: 1) it mentions character almost not at all; 2) it emphasizes plot twists, which I rarely hear talked about.

Even if you don't follow this plot outline rigidly, Dent's advice which boils down to, 'keep the story moving', 'there must be something important at stake' (that MENACE Dent keeps talking about), 'pump up the conflict at regular intervals', and 'give the reader something he hasn't seen before' seems sound. If you're writing a story with traditional plot and structure, that is.


meaning: bad luck, disaster

凶行== kyoukou == (noun ) violence, murder, crime
凶悪 == kyouaku == (noun, adjective that takes な) atrocious, fiendish, brutal, villainous

An open vessel or open mouth, marked by an 'x' for emphasis. Emptiness of vessel or mouth indicated ill fortune. Note that the character indicating 'full mouth/food vessel' indicates 'good fortune' (吉). Henshall suggests as a mnemonic: 'X indicates box is empty: what bad luck.'

Info from Taka Kanji Database
List of compounds including this character from Risu Dictionary


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