Guiness World Records cites Ryoki Inoue as the world’s most prolific writer. He has written over 1000 novels using his own name and 39 psudonyms. He has written a book in an afternoon. He’s written one overnight. He’s written as many as three books in one day. All of his books are in Portuguese, even his book on how to write. Without an English translation, this is my guess on how to write the Ryoki Inoue way. Luckily, I was able to find some articles in English where he gives a few tips on writing pulp fiction.
Inoue’s Pulp Writing Tips
1. Write your first inspiration. Worry about where it goes later. Abandon inertia at all costs.
2. Alternate between several projects at the same time.
3. When a story problem occurs destroy whatever is in the way. Kill characters. Blow up buildings. Whatever is necessary to keep moving.
4. Writing is 98% perspiration. Talent and luck are a minimal influence on success.
Preparing to Write Like Inoue
We’ve all seen the movie Pulp Fiction. If not, this probably isn’t your writing style. Stick with writing quality books over a period of months. Pulp means writing exciting flawed actions stories over a period of weeks, days, or hours. You decide what you’re going to write before you sit down at the keyboard. Once you’re there, you write until it’s done, stopping for only the most necessary interruptions.
Inoue, like Martin Caidin, sometimes ignored the need for sleep to get his writing done. In one story about his writing, he sat down at his laptop to write a book at 10pm. He finished it at 5:30 the next morning. Sounds like a blast. It also sounds like he’s a fast typist. There’s one thing for you to work on, but your typing speed will increase anyway the more you write.
Since your goal is to write fast, the best practice is short stories. Pulp methods won’t work so well for nonfiction articles. I’m using Caidin Method 101 from an earlier article to write this article. If your goal is writing novels, short stories are a great place to start.
As I did with Caiden, I want to set up a couple of steps for writing like Inoue. I’ll base them on what I’ve been able to read about him in English and assumptions made from that.
Inoue Pulp 101 – Short Stories
Short stories are a great warm up for writing any kind of book. If you find you can’t put together a 2000 word mystery, for example, you should be glad you didn’t try to write a mystery novel.
Before sitting down to write your short story, have a good idea what you want to write. It needs excitement and action. Realism is for literature. This is pulp fiction. The main characters can do anything, have any skills, their moral code can be based entirely on their own prejudices. That sounds a bit like what you might say about a chance encounter with any stranger in this post existential age, but your characters are people of action. They aren’t afraid of consequences like prison or violence. That leads to more action. Keep the conflicts coming. If it gets too complicated, kill or destroy until the path is clear again. Finish by destroying the main conflict that is the theme of your story.
It takes time to dream up new stories. If you can prime yourself for writing one short story a day, that’s a good start. If you have many other obligations, that may be enough. Write a pulp fiction short story every day and within a couple of months you will find you can write them much faster.
If there is a final exam to this exercise, it is getting to the point where you are willing to share your daily short pulp fiction stories.
Inoue Pulp 201 – Novels
One way to move up to writing pulp novels is to keep writing short pulp but make your stories longer and longer. One day you will realize you’ve written a book. Inoue’s own books were mostly between 100 – 200 pages. Not quite Stephen King length.
While we can sell short stories to magazines and books to publishers, there really isn’t much market for story lengths in between the extremes. If you become a popular novelist one day, you can sell collections of novellas or put them in anthologies, but that’s about it.
The best plan is to try and move from short story length to book length as quickly as possible. In other words, when you sit down to write a story, plan to write either a short story or a book. If the book turns out to be a novella, don’t worry about it. Tomorrow, you will be writing another book.
While Inoue could get away with a 100 page book for the Portuguese markets, the English markets demand at least 300 pages. When you can write a pulp novel of at least 300 pages that you would be willing to submit to a publisher, you’ve passed the final exam for this exercise.
Where’s the Profit in Pulp Fiction?
Articles about pulp fiction say that it is a thing of the past. But, have you read the top selling crime, action and thriller writers? Pulp fiction is still here. It’s just better quality. It’s done using multiple drafts and with thorough proofreading. The inconsistencies are cleaned up. The main characters are still larger than life. Violence still wipes out story problems.
Writing pure old fashioned pulp fiction is good practice for writing higher quality novels that are no longer seen as pulp. Once you can write a pulp novel fast, you can use that as your first draft process. The second draft can be your chance to add warmth, realism and meaningful relationships.
I hope these prolific writing articles are inspirational. The proof is in whether you find yourself writing more. They’re working for me.
Article by Ivan Izo.