The Lester Dent Pulp Paper Master Fiction Plot

The Lester Dent Pulp Paper Master Fiction Plot (via Warren Ellis) is a formula for writing a 6000-word pulp story, by the creator of Doc Savage. An interesting mix of good advice:

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.

With silly:

The writer learns they have palm trees in Egypt. He looks in the book, finds the Egyptian for palm trees, and uses that. This kids editors and readers into thinking he knows something about Egypt.

And good advice that launched a multitude of clichés:

DON’T TELL ABOUT IT! Show how the thing looked. This is one of the secrets of writing; never tell the reader–show him. (He trembles, roving eyes, slackened jaw, and such.) MAKE THE READER SEE HIM.

(roving eyes are a favorite of Thog’s Masterclass).