Writing an Adventure Story by L. Ron Hubbard

“Adventuring is a state of mind. If you adventure through life, you have a good chance to be a success on paper.

“Adventure doesn’t mean globe-trotting, exactly, and it doesn’t mean great deeds. Adventuring is like art. You have to live it to make it real.”

L. Ron Hubbard Reviews – Stories from the Golden Age ePulp

Just since I got my first ebook reader (and fell in love with it within about thirty seconds), the advances in electronic reading and sound have been astronomical. On its way to me is a 160 GB iPod player containing all 80 of the Stories from the Golden Age audio dramas. These remind me of the radio shows we used to listen to before we got television, except that they’re better. They also include glossaries and illustrations exactly as they appear in the printed books, actor cast lists and bios, video trailers, and the behind-the-scenes documentay “The Making of a Golden Age Audiobook.”

Even in the age of pulp–generally considered to be the 30s and 40s–one man might wear  dozen hats in a month. So far as is known, the most Hubbard ever did in one month was 17 stories (100,000 words, yanked off the typewriter and sent to the publisher without editing or rewriting) under 17 different pen names. Nobody knows for sure whether all of Hubbard’s work has been tracked down.

Unlike most pulp writers, he didn’t create one or two characters and reuse them constantly. He created new characters every month, and his use of voice was masterful. Each character had a separate voice and the voices were so distinguishable that the listener or reader can visualize the character. As we listen to the excellent actors on the iPod, it is hard to remember that these stories originally came out on paper so flimsy that it was lucky to survive two months.

There were dozens of genres of pulp, though the most common were spy stories, flight stories, science fiction, cowboy stories, detective stories, pirate stories–I could go on quite a lot longer.  Most writers picked one or two genres and stayed in them. Hubbard wrote in all of them. He didn’t go into great detail as to how he went about living. The picture of him as a young man is that of a smooth-faced man in good health with a good outlook on life.

 

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