Wednesday, August 11, 2010

BEEsy Writer: The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell

"Sun Tzu wrote: 'He wins a battle by making no mistakes.' My hope is that this manual will help you avoid the mistakes and write stronger books and win the battle to get and stay published."

~James Scott Bell in The Art of War for Writers~

In his most recent book on writing, James Scott Bell shares with writers what he has learned in his 20 plus years as a fiction writer. The Art of War for Writers consists of 77 short chapters organized under the following three sections:

Part I:Reconnaissance focuses on the mental game of writing.

Part II: Tactics offers tactics and techniques on the craft that help "you go deeper, to do things that will set you apart from the vanilla slush that's poured into the offices of tired editors and agents."

Part III: Strategy includes advice on the publishing business.

This compact red book surprised me with the abundance of wise and practical advice it offers to writers. I particularly found the "Reconnaissance" section helpful as it addresses many of the mental battles we writers face on our journeys. Some of the chapters included in this section include:

  • The writer must understand the essentials of success for a long-term writing career, and count the cost accordingly.
  • A foundation in discipline is always the first step toward victory.
  • "Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain."
  • Status, worry, and comparisons are the ways to madness, not victory.
  • Stay hungry so your determination will not flag.
  • Finish your novel, because you learn more that way than any other.

I highly recommend this book to all writers, especially beginning writers. I've placed this book near my computer and plan to refer to it often as I continue on my journey as a writer.

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