Monday, October 4, 2021

The Executioner Series Style Guide

In my review of Men's Adventure Quarterly #3 last week I mentioned the issue had inspired me to upload an Executioner curio I picked up some years ago, thanks to a cool guy I used to be in regular contact with named Mike Madonna.  Mike kindly shared with me this style guide for The Executioner that Gold Eagle put together in the early 1980s, when the imprint began publishing the series.  I have been meaning to share this out for several years now, and the newest MAQ inspired me to finally do it.

This 38-page document features an intro by Don Pendleton himself, and then goes on to give potential Gold Eagle ghostwriters the ins and outs of handling the series.  It would appear that the guide was not used for very long; per his comments in A Study Of Action-Adventure Fiction, Pendleton grew quite frustrated with how Gold Eagle ultimately veered away from his suggestions for the character and the series.

Also, I thought it would be fitting to post this now, given that the final Executioner novel was published this past December, courtesy long-time series author Michael Newton (who per a comment Brian Drake left in my recent The Hunter #1 review passed away recently).

Head to this Mega link to download the Executioner Series Style Guide and let me know what you think!


Unknown said...


Interesting, and some good writer advice. It did amuse me a bit how they spent so many pages talking about the need for brevity and focus, when that could all be summed up by Elmore Leonard's "leave out the parts readers tend to skip." But, what the hell, I guess they needed to emphasize it.

Funny to see Nick Carter and Mickey Spillane get mentioned, and it was very odd to see Origin of the Species listed as an example of how to write! Never once have I been reading an Executioner book and thought, "Hmmm, this sounds like Darwin." It's also wise of them to warn not to try to copy Pendleton's style or it'll be "overblown." There's kind of an insult stealthed in there and I wonder how Pendleton felt about that. :) Don's style worked for him, but probably only him... if anybody tried aping it (all the "what a man, yeah, a HELL of a man!") stuff it'd be instant parody. It'd be all too easy to do that.

I think I recognize some of those fan letters from one of the "war books." Pendleton seemed to really enjoy his fan mail. But, why not?

Anyway, great peek behind the curtain. :)

Robert Deis (aka "SubtropicBob") said...

Wow! That's fascinating. Thanks, Joe!!!