Galley Table 69 – Brand Gamblin is Awesome

Galley Table 69 – Brand Gamblin is Awesome

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On the show this week we had

Our Guest

Brand Gamblin

And the Regular Cast

Doc Coleman

Laura Nicole

JP Losier

Scott Roche

Jeff A. Hite

Amazon.com Widgets

The Lester Dent Formula:

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:

1. A DIFFERENT MURDER METHOD FOR VILLAIN TO USE

2. A DIFFERENT THING FOR VILLAIN TO BE SEEKING

3. A DIFFERENT LOCALE

4. 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.

A different murder method could be–different. Thinking of shooting,

knifing, hydrocyanic, garroting, poison needles, scorpions, a few others,

and writing them on paper gets them where they may suggest something.

Scorpions and their poison bite? Maybe mosquitos or flies treated with

deadly germs?

If the victims are killed by ordinary methods, but found under strange

and identical circumstances each time, it might serve, the reader of

course not knowing until the end, that the method of murder is ordinary.

Scribes who have their villain’s victims found with butterflies, spiders

or bats stamped on them could conceivably be flirting with this gag.

Probably it won’t do a lot of good to be too odd, fanciful or grotesque

with murder methods.

The different thing for the villain to be after might be something other

than jewels, the stolen bank loot, the pearls, or some other old ones.

Here, again one might get too bizarre.

Unique locale? Easy. Selecting one that fits in with the murder method

and the treasure–thing that villain wants–makes it simpler, and it’s

also nice to use a familiar one, a place where you’ve lived or worked. So

many pulpateers don’t. It sometimes saves embarrassment to know nearly as

much about the locale as the editor, or enough to fool him.

Here’s a nifty much used in faking local color. For a story laid in

Egypt, say, author finds a book titled “Conversational Egyptian Easily

Learned,” or something like that. He wants a character to ask in

Egyptian, “What’s the matter?” He looks in the book and finds, “El

khabar, eyh?” To keep the reader from getting dizzy, it’s perhaps wise to

make it clear in some fashion, just what that means. Occasionally the

text will tell this, or someone can repeat it in English. But it’s a

doubtful move to stop and tell the reader in so many words the English

translation.

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.

Here’s the second installment of the master plot.

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