Once upon a time ...
there was a telegraph operator, Lester Dent, who worked the graveyard shift. One of his co-workers sold a story for $450
--which was a fortune at the time--
and Dent thought, "Hey, I could do that!"
Turned out he was right.
Dent eventually wrote over 159 novels over 16 years
--and that was just the Doc Savage novels!
He celebrated his affluence by buying a yacht and sailing around the world.
He had a Master Formula to write a selling 6,000 word short story.
"There 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."
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
FIRST 1500 WORDS
1–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.
2–The hero pitches in to cope with his fistful of trouble. (He tries to fathom the mystery, defeat the menace, or solve the problem.)
3–Introduce ALL the other characters as soon as possible. Bring them on in action.
4–Hero’s efforts land him in an actual physical conflict near the end of the first 1500 words.
5–Near the end of first 1500 words, there is a complete surprise twist in the plot development.
The rest of the MASTER PLOT can be found here:
Then, there are ROBERT HEINLEIN'S RULES FOR WRITING:
He said he sold every story he ever wrote so he might just have known what he was saying, right?
1. You must write .
2. You must finish what you start.
3. You must refrain from rewriting except to editorial order.
4. You must put it on the market
5. You must keep it on the market until sold.
Many writers have problems with #3.
But there are so many who write, re-write, and re-write until they wring the very life out of their prose.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?