For writers of New Pulp, especially those that focus on the 1930s and 1940s, it can be kind of hard to recreate the feel of the era.
Most of the writers of New Pulp were born in the final decades of the 20th Century. The only way they’ve ever experienced the 1930s is by reading old pulps, watching old movies or simply just by guessing.
What is New Pulp? It’s the up-and-coming writing style that attempts to recapture the glory days of American fiction magazines, namely in the form of robust adventure stories. Its also called Adventure Fiction by some and those stories are usually set in the 1930s through the 1950s.
One great resource to add a bit of authenticity to writing era-based New Pulp (or any other project, such as a comic or role-playing game based in the era) is looking through old newspapers. Inside them, a writer can find all sorts of interesting tidbits from the time.
They’ll know how much a tin pot costs, what’s in a dinner special or get an ear for dialogue and lingo.
These little tidbits — from the price of a candy bar to the names of gas stations — add a lot to the flavor of a story.
The problem is that old newspapers are hard to find. In their original form, a 60-year-old newspaper fall apart in your hands. A writer can also zip down to the library and throw a roll of microfiche on the spools and zip around. He or she might also find a flickr or photobucket site that offers scans of old newspapers too.
But there is an even better way to scan through some old newspapers — especially if the writer has a little extra shelfspace.
They come in the form of a series of publications that reduce and reprint newspaper pages in a large softcover book, often collected by decade. These books are technically authored by the creative staff of the newspaper featured inside, but in fact the pages were selected, scanned and printed by Historical Briefs Inc, a company in Verplanck, N.Y.
- The Memorable 1940’s
- The Memorable 1950’s
- The Fabulous 1950’s
- Extra! The Pages of (name of newspaper)
- (The name of your newspaper)
Beyond that, the books, originally produced in the 1980s and 1990s, are hard to track down, but if available inexpensively, they’re probably worth the purchase for any writer interested in some authentic details about the setting of their next story.