Help From Tom Clancy

Clancy, Tom - Debt of Honor (1994 HB)

Clancy, Tom – Debt of Honor (1994 HB) (Photo credit: sdobie)

Tom Clancy’s 5 big rules for writing and life

“Learn to write the same way you learn to play golf,” the novelist advised


Tom Clancy, the insurance agent turned superpower thriller novelist, died yesterday at the age of 66, leaving behind a legacy that includes blockbuster books (over 100 million copies of his books in print), movies, even videos games. Although he didn’t set down a list of writing tips for posterity––or at least, if he did, it’s still stealthily unrevealed––through interviews and lectures Clancy offered advice that can be applied to any style of writing.

Tell the story.

“Fundamentally, I think of myself as a storyteller, not a writer.” What’s the difference you may ask? Instead of trying to impress critics with his literary pyrotechnics, Clancy said he told stories to “take people away from driving trucks or fixing toilets or whatever they do, away from their drudgery. That’s a good enough purpose for any man.” Clancy’s career really took off when a man not known for being a member of the literati, then–President Ronald Reagan, labeled Clancy’s first book The Hunt for Red October a “perfect yarn.”

Writing is like golf.

“A lot of people think [when you write] something mystical happens to you, that maybe the muse kisses you on the ear. But writing isn’t divinely inspired––it’s hard work.” Clancy’s advises writers to “Learn to write the same way you learn to play golf. You do it, and keep doing it until you get it right.” READ MORE HERE.