HowTo:Write Like Tom Clancy

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Almost all the writers that I know have, at one point, asked me what to do when a book was not selling to good. They come to me and ask something along the lines of:

" Look, I have just finished a work that deals for the most part with the morality of humankind in the post modernistic western world of the 20th century. Here I reflect on the zeitgeist of that time that has led to certain events, all by analyzing the myriad multi-layered cultural undertones of that era."

Often, here they pause to see how far behind I am at this point, but naturally I say something reassuring so they understand I'm still with them such as:

" I see, and you have, of course, set such chronologically described historical profound events unilaterally and perpendicular in contrast to, say, the parallel and bilateral neo-political movements driven by the middle classes."

After easing their mind the story goes something like this .

Cquote1 But apparently the people are not ready for this work. It just will not sell and the publisher demanded that I pay for most of the printing and distribution costs. Now my wife will probably leave me, if she finds out, and I'll be ruined. I HAVE TO write a bestseller! It is my last chance and I do not have much time! Cquote2

Not all writers are capable of dealing with this terrible misfortune. Some writers know how to reinvent themselves , but most writers simply can not work outside of their specialised areas. For those writers this HowTo has been constructed, and it will give the struggling author a new and non-intrusive method of writing books, which will not cause the author's true passions to go unexplored. As regards writing, at least.

edit Dealing with the problem

“It's okay, really Umberto. But next time al least try to write one sentence per page that mortal readers can understand”
~ Me on Eco's latest work
“Calm down now Donna, People did not only pick up your first books because you have a funny surname”
~ Me on Donna tarts writers insecurity
“ Lets face it Joanne, People simple will not take your next book seriously.. Unless you introduce guns, lots of guns”
~ Me on Joanne Kathleen Rowlings next series

edit Facing the truth

Now bear with me, these people are indeed very fragile right now and you might find it harsh or lacking in good taste the things I say to them. But be reminded that only speedy and resolute action can help them and there is not much more resolute then the truth. So I say that , with my sincerest apologies in advance, the reading public is always right, that the book is a piece of boring tripe and anybody seen picking it up should be battered with a lead pipe on the backs of there cranium.

edit Dealing with the facts

Of course, it is not at all true that the more esoteric works of those friends like Salman or Umberto are all useless overly intellectual drivel. These books are to be considered vast containers of knowledge; vats of condensed wisdom for all human kind. But these works only sell 500+ and simply do not put enough bread on the table. So normally I advise them to write two or three "lighter" works that entertain the commoners before publishing their own greater works that are not suitable for the plebs.

edit Some methods

Terry for instance, had a wonderful idea for a body of work that reflected the world as we perceive it by describing it within a fictional metaphorical scenario. He wanted to cover a wide variety of topics like religion, politics, media, war, human nature and art, all set within this nonexistent metaphysical world. Unfortunately it lacked a certain feeling. It did not quite have that much needed flow. Quite frankly it was very boring. So I suggested he just tweaked the scenario a bit and perhaps some characters or put some jokes in. Just make the world flat, introduce wizards and vampires instead of scientists and tax collectors and let the whole thing be carried by some elephants on a tortoise.

While this shift in concept worked great for Terry, other writers are, alas, not so flexible.

edit Methodical system of economic writing

We can not expect writers to write their much needed masterpieces if it is impossible for them to pay the rent or own a car. It is equally impossible, and perhaps even morally unjust, to ask of them to abandon their passion and write stuff that people do like to, or are able to, read. Asking a writer not to write to the best of his or her ability and take up a decent day job is totally out. Writers really do not have the mindset to be working in factories or on farms; their office work is terribly sloppy and most have social disorders or suffer from nepotism.

Many writers proclaim that they will write something like Dan Brown did; I usually discourage this because Dan Brown has written only 2 best-selling works and the others were just pulled in it's wake. So, to be read you have to have, first of all, a continuity of economic viable works. But that is not the main reason why I advise against mimicking Dan Brown. The primary reason is that writing a work like Angles and demons takes up a large amount of research. And real writers want to research their work on topics of which they are fond. You can NOT study the inner workings of the eye of the Drosophila melanogaster when you need to study catholic scripture, legislature, or indeed the explosive reactions of the anti-comma.

If you want to write a book that sells whilst still enjoying writing and studying other topics that pique your interest, you need to write at least 2 books per year that take up almost no research time at all. Write it in a day or 2 to a week, publish, sell, take a vacation and enjoy the subjects you are passionate about for a month or 3 after which you need to write another lame book for simpletons . Do this 2 or 3 times a year and you can afford in the end to publish one of you finer fulfilling and more complicated world changing works without be worried how to make ends meet.

Let's summarize: for you to indulge in your own passion of writing, you should only offer up 3 weeks of your time in order to write mindless drivel that the masses will buy and by doing that sponsor great works of literature because you will be able to pay off your tax and such. Everybody wins .

edit The TC method

Tom Clancy books are all the same: violent, pulp, not very interesting, out of touch with reality, in poor taste, ridiculous, adolescent impoverished entertainment, a waste of proofreaders, an insult to human capacity and intellect, belittling, macabre, mindless chaotic drivel and they sell like hotcakes. These books are so clearly void of depth, wit, imagination, point, moot, insight,foresight, meaning, merit and completely vacant of any other constructive and pleasant attributes so often found in real literature that that one can plainly see how little effort it takes to create such an semantic atrocity, such an insult to even the most mediocre intellect.

Therefor it is perfect to use as a model for our new book that needs to sell for you to get a stable income so much needed to bring out your great, but boring, works of tremendous meaning. Lets first look at how we should start such a endeavor

edit Set up a Clancyesque scenario

1. Pick a good side and an evil one

Remember that best audience for mindless violent entertainment are Americans, therefore make sure that most of your work choose the good side to be American or at least an Allied nation.

2. Pick your Protagonist

This role must be mild, mannered, well spoken and a calm and stable entity. He (invariably male) must also be a total sadist capable of horrific violence and inhuman acts of terror and torture. He should have a strong belief system, such as Calvinism or Roman-Catholicism (NOT ISLAM), since all atheists can only serve as foils to such a character. For example :

  • Captain ex navy seal decorated fancy pants Jim Steel.
  • Team Leader Alpha, Sean Wilderbeast. Kgggrrr, breaky breaky
  • Harrison Ford
  • Captain America
  • Expert weapon handler Commander S. Stone.
  • Steven Seagull
  • John McCain
  • Pope Pius IX

3. Pick the antagonist

Mostly foreign looking people with accents tend to do good as an evil guy. Anyone NON-USA will sell perfectly. You could go out on a limb and pick a new future terrorist country. Yanks do not know the difference between Europe and Asia. If the USA does decide to invade Portugal in the future, this will be a nice little bonus for you when the sales go up for a second time. If the USA leaves the Portuguese alone, no harm done, Win win , you see ?. Antagonist examples :

  • Former head of KGB who looks like James bond villain.
  • Militant leader of insurgents with wacky believes.
  • Asian looking Kim Jung Ill lookalike
  • Belgian Muslim terrorist AND minister of Flemish defense army for Allah.
  • Richard Dorkins, and his harem of humanist hamsters

4. Choose a motive

Note that evil can be found everywhere.

  • Evil wants to take over the world or Mars or Canada or the sea or a part of the sea, maybe just the ea and leave us the S alone, we don't know, evil is that crazy!.
  • Evil wants to destroy, The good guy or good itself or the world and/or the Moon or mMars.
  • Evil tries to sell it's satanic biological quality health product it grows on farms to the USA. ( the scumbags ).
  • Evil wants to ship thousands of kilos of pure Columbian Cocaine by Monster Truck aboard an oil tanker.
  • Evil wants to single-handedly destroy Capitalism by kidnapping Protagonist's entire family and forcing them to listen to hip-hop.
  • Evil really competes with the USA on a market driven economic level and therefor must be destroyed/invaded or both.
  • Evil feels the need to tie some futuristic weapon to the heads of some poor innocent land or sea creature.
  • Evil seeks to undermine the protagonist's belief system out of jealousy and self-loathing that all atheists feel in their gilted hearts.

edit Outline your basic story line

There are certain elements that need to be incorporated into the storyline for it to flow correctly. Some of these only occur once, like a beginning and an ending, and some of them are recurring, sometimes during every chapter. This is the 10 step plan to write violent drivel .

The basic elements are these :

  • 1. Introduction . Who are the goodies and who are the baddies?
  • 2. An event unfolds and action must be undertaken
  • 3. Action is undertaken, and described with tedious technical details ( note this part for it is crucial to a Tom Clancyesque novel ).
  • 4. Give shallow insight into good guys motivation
  • 5. Give shallow insight into bad guys motivation ( Not obligatory , only when bad guy is not Muslim apparently )
  • 6. The good side seems to be in bad shape ( maybe some close friend of antagonist dies, you figure it out).
  • 7. The bad guys seem to be winning
  • 8. The Good side cleverly disguises themselves as Kangaroos and snapping turtles. Nuking, sniping, and blasting their way to the heart of Evil.
  • 9. Good side prevails.
  • 10. C.I.A. agent Father Time and General Jack McJesus smokes em' if they have them.
  • 11. End with a semi poetic one-liner from the protagonist, leaving the door open for the inevitable sequel

Some of these elements need a certain alignment or position in order for them work. The beginning , for example, needs to start at the beginning and occur once preferably. You might say this to be stating the obvious, but many works are not written chronologically. The reason I specifically mention this is that you must, when embarking on a Clancyesque writing journey, you MUST at ALL costs avoid this. The target audience you seek to reach with your bestseller book does not need intriguing plot lines, multi-faceted points of view, flashbacks, or all that story telling of a higher order. Your CURRENT audience wants a preferably simple straight forward black and white story that starts at the front cover and ends at the back. Furthermore Element number 2 can not occur too much, for it just muddles up the first basic necessity for violence, namely motif. And the good side should only truly prevail ( Number 9 ) once for it to feel like a real ending. Apart from these 3 points, just about anything goes. Throw as much action in as you can possibly do without with starting to vomit and finding your mirror image a repulsive vista to glance at.

  • Give character motivations as much as you like, Kill their families, let them be dualists on political issues, let them be former enemies or convicts.
  • Make them bat fuck insane if you like. In fact, the bat fuck insane characters seem to fit in well in this sort of story
  • Let the good side loose as much men and materiel as you possible can without wiping them out. Aw, what the hell, wipe them out and invent some new men, who cares ( and who counts ).
  • You can even go back and forth between almost winning bad side to almost winning good site time and time again, through the cunning use of twists and red herrings. Near-future weaponry and vehicles are great for this, and also mean you can describe them in tedious technical jargon.

edit Action must be undertaken

Rainbow six vegas
What a Clancy Book looks like on the silver screen

This element is so crucial in Clancyesque writing that it must have it's own sub sub chapter in describing this elements. The "action" part in this quintessential pillar of support for it's entire duration. This action that has to be undertaken within the book should at least cover three quarters minimum no matter how thick you tend you make your publications.

How to go about this action part . Since we are talking books here you need some means of putting in words these actions. While this seems a daunting task it is, in reality, quite easy. We all watched the old batman movies and series' with Adam West. Remember when batman and robin where beating up bad guys you would see all the Bams Zappps , Thonks or Pows when hits where dealt. A Clancy action description is not much different. Just mix it up with some tour of duty jargon and you will be neatly on your way. You can use cumbersome correspondence via one way radio , and reuse time and again military jackedy ,smacherdy that you see in most b-class movies. you can make things explode and translate the luminous explosion into minute detail. You can let people fire guns and other people return fire at nausea. Example:

Cquote1 The silo's just went up in flames, kabooooooom Katatatatatatataatatatatata. "INCOMING" The sarge exclaimed, then suddenly Nooooooo!. Nooooooo! SARGE!!!!, Jimmy cried as Sergeant Butt-head fell to the ground, minus 1 head. "YOU BASTARDS" said Jimmy the red shirt wearing private as he ran towards the fire shooting in a blaze of glorious revenge. The insurgents shells,shot from Patria AMOS PT1s , were impacting left and right, but this did not stop Private Jimmy on his suicide mission to revenge his fallen and headless friend Sergeant Butt-head. Whilst shooting 3 enemy combatants in the head he cried, "Fucking eat my lead" and "Game over, you terrorist Muslim scum". Then he reached for 3 hand grenades from his US navy Issue Grenade belt Model number 2332/A1. He pulled the pins and swallowed them in order to shit out the cause for his enemies death later on and with an elegant move he simultaneously ducked and throw the armed grenades towards the scared and cowardly towel-heads. Cquote2

You see how terribly easy this is to write useless violence like this . You could fill pages and pages with it, the outcome being irrelevant just until the end of this battle. And the best part is PEOPLE WILL READ IT ( or at least buy it ). But the main point is, put this in your book for 70% to 90% of your book and it will go over the shelf like it was going out of fashion.

edit Wrapping it up

Tom clancy montage1
Tom Clancy demonstrating his knowledge of camouflage


Now that you have your beginning and ending, Violence and other shallow episodes of trivial events lined up there is just one thing to do. Insert some random details. The story must feel authentically violent and hardcore military. You must remember as much military jargon as you can and input this all into your new book. Also use loads and loads of serial numbers. All equipment must be called a ten-naught-five or whatever. Do not forget to put some nationalistic honour and patriotism and such nonsense in there.

Tom Clancy himself, albeit, a terrible coward did pick up a lot of military jargon when serving his tour of duty in the officers mess for elderly revisits in Ohio. He learned a lot about military operations and how to talk and act when hunting native Indians or Afghan geriatrics terrorists. You may be a little daunted at the prospect of having to learn all this mumbo jumbo war game lingo for yourself, but rest assured. If you spend a weekend or two watching some graphics war violence with a bag or chips and 2 six packs you can get your Pappa bravo floppy disk right up to par with Clancy's Milli Vanilli chilly willy. But frankly , most of it you can just make up. Do not forget , it's a military thing, it does not need logic , planning, smart people or proper dialog. Some suggested material :

  • Tour of doody
  • Hamburger Fill
  • Rainbow Sixpack
  • the A team
  • Fracking Toasters!


But after putting all of that trivial detail into your storyline you can call your new best seller finished. The only thing missing is a title. Now the title is the hard part with any book of this nature. the title must say it all, the whole essence , as it were, must be in included in the title. What does that mean ? That the title must me as meaningless or violent or about war or guns as you can possibly imagine. Almost everything goes as long it is military, patriotic, uses the Greek alphabet and is aggressive or violent.

  • Operation Zeta
  • Team Sigma force
  • Flight of the X106
  • The Blue Monday Zone
  • Escape from Death Rho
  • The Sum of Pi over R squared


It is calculated that any Clansy book stripped of its useless violent portrayals of battle scenes leaves about one third its original length. Stripping the remainder of this novel by eliminating all the excessive use of military jargon, acronyms and fictitious code names and serial numbers for vehicles,armor types,guns and all other weaponry will reduce the booklet to a dismal 4 page short story without touching the dialog and character depth developing content. The lesson here is that easily made up garbage will will your book even more and make it sound very military like. Examples:

Ultimate gun
The Chinese Terror Gun PFG_22991_XJ_TANGOTAGNO Death bringer V2.0.2
  • The X501 is MIA by the terror group Raven PQ7.
  • Commander Q-2 took his new AK_091 with POW grenades of the production line FU-X-7331.
  • The PX viper is the best grill for KFC . As long as Delta Upsilon BBQ sauce is used.
  • The fucker shot me with his... shiny new polished M-5 Sigma/WTF-RPG_BFG_808_Messerschmitt_Foxbatt-33 Army Gun_Knife II Mark IV

You got the basic idea. Now all that is needed if some nice glossy picture of the general concept or some explosion for a paperback cover and you are all set. Print it and publish it and make a fine income you can use to write proper stuff.

edit Extras and options

If you wish extra money making enterprises are accessible once your book is published. Because the type of audience you have reached more very profitable media are at your service to ensure that your income will sustain your passions and real literature. One aspect present in your most recent work is violence, violence and explosions and people being shot and loads of blood and destruction and such. Themes perfect for the cinema!. Yes, you could make a movie out of your book and reap the fruits from such a profitable endeavor. On point of concern is that the influence of movies in the media is of such a nature that this type of work does seem to stick in peoples minds and could make it hard, for instance, to later-on promote your book on the understanding of morality within humankind.

Another highly profitable option you have that is less intrusive to the opinion of the public is video games. Most popular video game are shooters, so is your book. Lend your title to an extremely easy video game and cash in, just as simple as that.

edit What About Clancy ?

“I heard that Tom Clancy was A elite special ops navy seal commando, thats why he knows all about those super ultra secret sector 7,CIA and NSA files and weapons and stuff, And and and normally somebody who talks about that would be killed by men in black and but and but, but Tom can not be killed by them because he knows to much , and has indestructible armor, and the people at Area 51 really really like his books .. Thats what I have heard.”
~ Tom Clancy fan on what he thinks he knows about Tom Clansy

Clancy himself is of course not an ex general, platoon commander, special ops guy, weapons/explosive expert or any other military sounding classification. Most likely the only position this character is suitable for in the army is cleaning portable latrines or clean up the privates mesh. In fact, Tom Clansy is a fat, out of shape, near sighted, clumsy, nurdish guy who also suffers from a wide array of phobias. He has vertigo to the point that he dares not to approach the curbstone on the sidewalk within 3 feet. Furthermore the pussy is afraid of large masses of people , milk, Being alone, people who do milk, Strangers, Women, dogs, spiders, cats, guns, guns that shoot milk, war, communists, terrorists, democrats, Europeans and dirt.

But still to the surprise of most fans, readers, haters and other authors Tom Clancy himself is an utilizer of this technique himself. Although the concept of mimic writing has been around since the stone tabled it is not strange that nowadays the symptom bares Clancy's name. It is, after all, that Tom Clancy does embody the reckless mindless precision in which violence authors must write there drivel to entertain the masses. But in normal live Tom Clancy is in fact not the lazy pulp violence writing conspiracy seeking nut case that he seems to be. Apart from the mind killing lunacy he produces in his popular writing there is this small series that he produced over the last years ( under the pseudonym C. Tommy ).

  • Aboriginal art at the beginning of the Asian year 500 through 1200
  • A Little History of African pedicure practice from walking on all fours till today.
  • Why do Semites hate Germany ?
  • Why does Germany hate pigs ?
  • A small introduction to Inuit fishing and costume making.
  • Roman pillar architecture and the architects who build them.
  • Fruit fly mating rituals.
  • Zen Buddhisms , A spiritual guide by C Tommy.
  • Paper machee hardcore style.

So as you can clearly see, Tom Clancy himself does use his talent for writing mindless shite to pay for and sponsor his better and very useful anthropological work which is his live and passion. And does so very effectively.

edit Tom Clancy war book Bibliography

  • The Sum of all hunts for red splinter-cells, rogue spears and other patriot games in clear and present fear.
  • mighty ultra secret plane gets stolen by poor unorganized desert dwellers.
  • Imagine Harrison Ford doing this shit.
  • Rainbow 1,2,3,4,5 and six.
  • AMERICA: FUCK YEAH.
  • Stealing X-Mas.
  • Jack Ryan Conquers the Cubans.
  • Super Secret Agent C.I.A. Force Five.
  • Code:SckItHrdNLckItClean.
  • The Hunt For Rogue Plane Code Number: Red XIII
  • Shadowy overcast Eight.
  • Code Number: 1-2-3-4-5!..6-7-8-9-10-11-12-11-12!
  • The Hunt for A replacement for Jack Ryan.
  • Code For Bitchass: Unnatural Killers.
  • Red Alert: Birthday For Jack Ryan.
  • Atmospheric Chromatic aberration phenomenon VI.
  • Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Iran.
  • Tom Clancy's , What a bunch of immature idiots.
  • Why can't we just all get alo...!BANG!...
  • "War, HUH, What is it good for, Absolutely_perfect_for_writing_crappy_warnovels_about_it"

edit See Also :

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