Reviving Forgotten Genres: A Guide to Writing Pulp Fiction Today

3 min read

Reviving Forgotten Genres: A Guide to Writing Pulp Fiction Today
Reviving Forgotten Genres: A Guide to Writing Pulp Fiction Today

The Resurgence of Pulp Fiction

Once a popular genre that captivated readers with its fast-paced plots, sensational themes, and vivid characters, pulp fiction has unfortunately been overshadowed by other genres in recent years. However, it's time for a revival. In this guide, we will delve into the history and characteristics of pulp fiction, and offer extensive advice on how modern writers can incorporate its unique elements into their writing.

Understanding Pulp Fiction

Before we dive into the world of writing pulp fiction, let's take a moment to understand what it truly means. Pulp fiction emerged in the early 20th century and was named after the cheap, low-quality paper it was printed on. These magazines were filled with thrilling stories that entertained readers with their action-packed plots, larger-than-life characters, and sensational themes.

Pulp fiction covered a wide range of genres including crime, science fiction, fantasy, horror, and adventure. It was a form of escapism for readers who craved excitement and entertainment. The stories were often serialized, with each installment leaving readers eagerly awaiting the next issue.

The Key Elements of Pulp Fiction

Now that we have a basic understanding of pulp fiction, let's explore its key elements that make it so unique and captivating:

1. Fast-Paced Plots

Pulp fiction is known for its breakneck pace. The stories are filled with action, suspense, and unexpected twists that keep readers on the edge of their seats. To write pulp fiction, it's important to maintain a sense of urgency and momentum throughout your story. Keep the plot moving forward, introduce new challenges and obstacles, and never let the reader catch their breath.

2. Sensational Themes

Pulp fiction thrives on sensational themes that push the boundaries of imagination. Whether it's a hard-boiled detective solving a murder mystery or a brave adventurer exploring uncharted territories, pulp fiction embraces the extraordinary. As a writer, don't be afraid to explore unconventional ideas and themes. Embrace the fantastical and let your imagination run wild.

3. Vivid Characters

Pulp fiction is populated with larger-than-life characters who leave a lasting impression on readers. From fearless heroes to cunning villains, these characters are often exaggerated and possess unique quirks and traits. When writing pulp fiction, focus on creating memorable characters that leap off the page. Give them distinct personalities, flaws, and motivations that drive the story forward.

Reviving Pulp Fiction Today

With the rise of other genres and the changing tastes of readers, pulp fiction has taken a backseat in recent years. However, there is a growing interest in reviving this forgotten genre. Here are some tips for modern writers looking to incorporate pulp fiction elements into their writing:

1. Study the Classics

To truly understand the essence of pulp fiction, immerse yourself in the classics. Read works by authors such as Dashiell Hammett, H.P. Lovecraft, and Edgar Rice Burroughs. Analyze their storytelling techniques, character development, and plot structures. By studying the masters of pulp fiction, you'll gain valuable insights into what makes this genre so captivating.

2. Embrace the Spirit of Adventure

Pulp fiction is all about adventure and escapism. Embrace the spirit of adventure in your writing by taking readers on thrilling journeys to exotic locations, dangerous situations, and unexplored realms. Create a sense of wonder and excitement that keeps readers turning the pages.

3. Inject Energy and Action

Pulp fiction thrives on energy and action. Infuse your writing with dynamic and vivid descriptions that bring the story to life. Use active verbs, short sentences, and snappy dialogue to create a sense of urgency and keep the pace moving. Don't be afraid to amp up the action and deliver thrilling moments that leave readers breathless.

4. Develop Compelling Characters

In pulp fiction, characters are the heart and soul of the story. Develop compelling characters that readers can root for or against. Give them distinct voices, strengths, weaknesses, and goals. Make them relatable and human, even in the most extraordinary of circumstances.

5. Emphasize Plot and Suspense

Pulp fiction is known for its gripping plots and suspenseful storytelling. Craft intricate plots with plenty of twists and turns that keep readers guessing. Create suspense by revealing information gradually and building tension throughout the story. Keep readers hooked by ending chapters on cliffhangers that leave them eager to know what happens next.


Pulp fiction may have faded into the background, but its essence still holds immense power to captivate readers. By understanding the history and characteristics of this forgotten genre, modern writers can revive it in their own unique way. Embrace the fast-paced plots, sensational themes, and vivid characters that define pulp fiction, and let your imagination soar. It's time to bring this thrilling genre back to life and give readers a taste of the excitement they've been missing.