The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell
SIBELLA GIORELLO once closed a note of encouragement to me with a word about how writing was like warfare. Her last thought was, “Lock and Load brother!”
James Scott Bell picks up on this idea in this great little manual for every foot soldier whose weapon is a pen or keyboard. The title comes from the much studied, Sun Tzu, a Chinese general who recorded his observations of the art of warfare between 400 and 320 B.C.
This is a brutally honest and to-the-point primer on everything writing. James Scott Bell is not simply a writer who decided to make some money writing books about writing. He is a master drill instructor, field tactician, and officer training specialist – a Sun Tzu of writing instructors. The three main section of The Art of War for Writers are:
Reconnaissance – Deals with the mental aspect of writing and how as Bell puts it, “what happens in your head affects everything else. Cautions abound about keeping one’s head clear, checking your ego at the door, and learning to think and therefore act like a serious writer.
Tactics – Bell has taught writing for 15 years and here it shares concise and practical tactics for good writing. There is no fluff here; just real-world advice that we all would be wise to heed.
Strategy – Advice is offered here for what to do upon entering the “no man’s land of the publishing biz.” There are no form letter examples of how to write a query letter but rather battle plans for the serious writer as he or she enters the fray in the world of agents and publishes and published authors.
The very last words of the book pretty much sum it up:
You are responsible for your own self-discipline. No one can find the time for you, or writer the words for you. You must be strict with your standards … Don’t settle for the easy, the familiar, the cliché.
At the same time, do not let your aspirations and actions lead to anxiety and distress. Sun Tzu wrote: “To maintain discipline and clam … this is the art of retaining self-control.”
You can download the first 25 pages of The Art of War for Writers for free here.
JAMES SCOTT BELL is a bestselling suspense author and former fiction columnist for Writers Digest magazine (following in the footsteps of his first mentor, Lawrence Block). He has written two bestselling craft books in the Writers Digest series Write Great Fiction: Plot & Structure and Revision & Self-Editing. He has taught writing at Pepperdine University and numerous writers conferences.
His website is www.JamesScottBell.com
I don’t sell anything here at teGeorge.com so, if you are story teller and want The Art of War for Writers, you’ll have to pull up Amazon or if you are really passionate, get in your car and put down a few bucks for one of the best writing books to come out in a while.