By Lester Dent. (Posted in October 1995 to alt.pulp by Jason A. Wolcott; taken from Bigger Than Life: The Creator of Doc Savage, by Marilyn Cannaday (Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1990), a biography of Lester Dent.)
This is a formula, a master plot, for any 6000 word pulp story. It has worked on adventure, detective, western and war-air. It tells exactly where to put everything. It shows definitely just what must happen in each successive thousand words.
No yarn of mine written to the formula has yet failed to sell.
The business of building stories seems not much different from the business of building anything else.
Here's how it starts:
- A DIFFERENT MURDER METHOD FOR VILLAIN TO USE
- A DIFFERENT THING FOR VILLAIN TO BE SEEKING
- A DIFFERENT LOCALE
- A MENACE WHICH IS TO HANG LIKE A CLOUD OVER HERO
One of these DIFFERENT things would be nice, two better, three swell. It may help if they are fully in mind before tackling the rest.