Writing pulp in the information age

This probably won’t be described as the information or the electronic age of pulp fiction, but it should be. This is most likely the bronze age of pulp if you figure the original pulps of the ’30s and ’40s kicked it off. Then you had the silver age with Bantam and Ace and Pocket Books in the ’60s and ’70s and now you have the bronze age with Amazon and ebooks.

Unlike the golden age, however, the modern pulp writer is in complete control of their content (or should be). And as with the writers of the original pulps, today’s writer is trying to pump out content at a furious pace. Not as fast as the original pulp writers, but much (much) faster than traditional authors. And providing that content at a reasonable price (as compared to traditional).

I see myself as one of those pulp writers. Or, rather, I hope to be one. I’m working on that. But don’t get me wrong, it’d be cool to be a great writer but unless that writer has been cunningly suppressed or repressed inside me waiting to pop out (and still waiting) it ain’t gonna happen. But I do think of myself as a good writer. I can put words together into sentences that aren’t altogether unpleasing. Plotting … well, that’s another story.

So my ambition since I started writing seriously in my 20s was to be a decent mid-level writer. A paperback writer—now an ebook writer. And I think I’m on the cusp of becoming that writer. I find that exhilarating and daunting at the same time. It makes me pause when trying to figure out either my next plot or my next project. That invisible pressure to perform well. The plot has to be magical. The project needs to be important. It’s difficult for me to shut down my brain enough to pick a topic and GO!


Random Aside: I have no idea how J.K. Rowling did it. How do you write the next book when your previous books are interstellar smash hits? That would create such a mental block of indecision. I would turn into granite before the keyboard. I envy her not just for her ability to spin a wonderful tale but just as much for somehow putting that pressure aside and writing that next Harry Potter book.