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  • Clarke Wallace

GETTING STARTED

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’.

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