What This Site Is About

Pulp Fiction

The woman is about to bash this guy in the head.
Scene from THE HUNTED.

Are you a writer interested in exploring the pulp fiction genre?

I am.  That’s why I created this website, mainly to publish my particular brand of short stories that I call Noir Fiction.  My second reason was to encourage some kind of dialog among writers who would like to contribute their talents to this category of fiction with their own work.  Or to comment on the blog I plan to create here, so writers of like mind can talk to each other and exchange ideas.

What The **&? Is Pulp Fiction, Anyway?

A lot of people these days get confused by the term, “pulp fiction,” referring to the Tarantino movie of the same name,  but what I’m talking about is the genre of fiction popularized by the “pulps” – hence the name – dominated through the early to middle twentieth century by writers such as Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, to name just two.

The Bradbury Building as it is today.

My particular brand is derived from what I call “set-pieces,” those scenes that evoke a sense of deja-vu.  If you’ve ever watched any noir films, you may have noticed how certain locations seem to be ubiquitous.  For instance, the Los Angeles Police Department, as it looked in the mid-forties and fifties, appears in a number of them.  Locations such as the Bradbury Building appear in several films.

Edmund O’Brien in DOA, in the Bradbury Building, 1949

I’m writing new material by borrowing settings, characters and situations familiar to fans who know Noir. The medium is perfectly accessible to anyone who uses the Internet: the tropes from various genres have been preserved by our popular culture.  We’ve all seen stereotypes in movies, seen them satirized; hence we have, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, The Cheap Detective, Play It Again Sam, etc.  Numerous Neo-Noir films have appeared over the past two or three decades, such as La Confidential,
Chinatown, No Country For Old Men, Mulholland Drive, Fargo, Basic Instinct, and the list goes on.  Though many people may not consciously realize it, the threads of pulp are knitted into the fabric of  pop culture, which is packed with reminders of an era now gone.  From preserving buildings and saving them from the wrecking ball to preserving motion picture films by outfits such as The Noir Foundation, we seem committed to saving what little is left of the old world our parents and grandparents took for granted.

Ann Sheridan in The Unfaithful, the Bradbury Building

So what’s so unique about it?  I hear you.  Can I describe it?  I wouldn’t try.  The only way for me to know that my stuff is any good is to hear from people who come to my site.  You can see a sample of comments visitors to my site have posted here.

Looking down from Olive Street, Bunker Hill.

One example from a story of mine is Fall Guy, which is set in a police station.  Set in a nightclub of that era,  The Chanteuse & The Derringer, with gangsters who grope dames and dames who drink too much, assorted riffraff, and guns, is another one.  But there is also redemption in these stories, as you’ll see if you click on the link that will take you to there.

To succeed, I need comments.  So if you like – or don’t like – what you read, please leave me a comment.

What I’m offering is a whole new dynamic in pulp fiction writing, short stories that can be consumed like fast food.  Just perfect for the spirit of the times.  A slant on an old formula. If you’d like a PDF copy, add your email address and I will email you a copy of this story, and others as they become available.

Who Am I, Anyway?

I was lucky enough from an early age to be exposed to photography and filmmaking.  My father was a cinematographer, and it was through him that I learned everything I know about the motion production picture process (3 alliteratives!).  It was my father’s American Cinematographer magazines that arrived every month by mail that I would thumb through and avidly scour the back pages of for what was filming at which studio.  The studio names and their locations would conjure up images of backlots, camera cranes, sound stages, grips, electricians, carpenters and assistants of various types – oh yes, actors, the glamorous  element in this exciting collaborative medium which combined artistic and industrial methods to produce cinema.

Working As A Grip

When my dad was engaged as a DP for a TV series, I tagged along.  At the tender age of sixteen, spending time on a sound stage was an opportunity I could not pass up.  Very soon I became a part of the production unit (though I was unpaid!), as clapper boy, and I was also given the responsibility of maneuvering the camera dolly, as there wasn’t anyone they could spare.  Looking back, I am sure I added value to the production and it would have been nice to at least get a mention, but what I took away from the experience was more important than any compensation.

I am a writer.  I began my “career” at eight years old,

That’s right, I was only 8. So cute!

when I wrote a much-too-long story as an assignment at school.  What I remember is pupils in the classroom gathering around my desk to watch me write, which was long after everyone else had finished.  I recall a strong impulse simply to keep writing (although what I wrote I don’t remember), and though I didn’t know it then I was destined to be a writer, for the simple reason that there was nothing else I knew how to do.

As a result, I had to resort to jobs that weren’t exactly in my line, but jobs that I could handle because they weren’t specialized.  Anybody can learn to drive a taxi, as I did, so that’s no biggie.  For a while I drove for a messenger company; I was also a driving instructor.

This gives you some idea of what it’s like being a driving instructor.

Now, I wasn’t exactly crazy about this job, as it involved some dangers.  Although I never reached the level of rage shown in this image, I often felt I was going to go nuts!

I won’t mention jobs – there were plenty more.

If you are a writer, you may recognize the pattern of having to work at something that brings in money (your day job) while you ply your trade at the typewriter, or computer these days.  As for publication, the field is much more open now to all kinds of writers because of digital media, which makes all things possible.  No longer do we have to wait for rejection slips from publishers who aren’t interested in considering our stuff, because these guys don’t take any risks.  They like their ongoing, dependable writers who bring in all that cash.  Why would they take a risk?

Now, with digital media, writers have the best chance ever, of writing what they love, garnering an audience through interaction with their own websites, and whose readers are the best critics.

No, today the writer of pulp fiction has the entire Internet to explore, and that’s what I’m doing.

I do hope I don’t sound too cavalier!

Here is a list of websites that discuss all this in greater detail.  [link]

There is nothing new in fiction, except for the manner in which you tell a story.  But the real soul of any story is “an oft repeated tale,” because we as readers like to be entertained and informed by old stories told in a new way.

That’s what I’m doing here.  I’ve built this site with that in mind, to retell familiar stories with a new slant.