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  • Clarke Wallace

I’ve been asked on numerous occasions how to write a book or screenplay. I’ve answered it several times here and my response is the same: Sit down and do it.


Let’s take working on a manuscript for a book. First, know what you want to write about. You’ll be working on it for the next two years from the initial draft and God only knows how many rewrites.

Some authors, and we’re dealing mostly with fiction here, is to make a list of what’s to go into the story. That dealt with, you go ahead and work on it.


I spend a great deal of time in the beginning. What’s the story I want to tell. That’s when the time is spent getting the facts right. You may say why, when this is a fictional story. Maybe so but in so many ways it has true elements to it.


My latest, HARM’S WAY ‘Death’s a Step Away When Taking on the Impossible’ ( Beacon Publishing) is about an American researcher keeping one step ahead of a contract killer, with a CIA operative ‘hell bent on stopping him from passing vital classified material onto a foreign power’.


The main character is caught between a rock and a hard place; all based on real facts. Get them wrong and I’d be dead in the water so to speak.


Working on a screenplay follows a different format based on dialogue punctuated with information. I keep mine to some one hundred and three pages, or close to it. The reason? No producer wants anything much longer, I’ve learned the hard way.


Author’s comment: A writer who I talked to not long ago told me emphatically he writes books but wouldn’t touch a screenplay ‘with a barge pole’ as he put it. When I mentioned it was only another form of writing, and in both merely a story, he shrugged it off with ‘no frigging way’.

  • Clarke Wallace

I’m lucky enough to have floor-to-ceiling double doors in my home office. I look out on a small forest of trees. Just beyond the deck.


Bluebirds, robins, chickadees, and many more other birds, arrive to sit on the railing. They look at me as if wondering how my day is going. It makes me wonder how they’re doing as well.


Squirrels cruise by looking for something to munch on and nothing this time, take off on other pursuits.


What fascinates me is the small forest of trees, mainly oaks and maples, I look out on. We’re on a hill which means seeing them from a quarter of the way up. When sitting in my office.


How is it the branches look so dead during the winter and yet in spring come back to life. Last Monday there was no sign of life. Tuesday, there is just a wee hint of growth.


Today, Sunday, the trees are in full bloom. It’s truly a miracle of life to watch nature come alive. Rebirth at its best.


Author’s comment: Take one deep breath wherever you are and give thanks for being alive. I know some of us are luckier than others and it’s worth respecting.