Art of War for Writers

ArtofWar coverPeriodically I plan to recommend a title or two for you to read. I’ve always enjoyed this form of “word-of-mouth” marketing, thus I will “pay it forward.”  🙂

Yesterday afternoon I received James Scott Bell’s The Art of War for Writers: fiction writing strategies, tactics, and exercises (published by Writer’s Digest Books). With interest I took the book home and devoured it. Not literally of course, as I’m not sure what the pages would have tasted like with extra cheese. But I could not keep from turning the pages with delight.

James Scott Bell has done an immeasurable service to writers everywhere. This little book is chock full of sage advice. Loosely based on the ancient classic The Art of War he consistently nudges the reader with nuggets of wisdom that are hard to assail.

The book is flooded with amazing quotes. I kept saying to myself, “Oh that’s a good one, I’ll have to use that in my next presentation.” But after saying that a dozen times in only a few pages I began to to realize the extraordinary wealth found in this book.

While the subtitle indicates the book is written with the novelist in mind the information is universal. Every non-fiction writer can glean much from these pages too.

I was also impressed with the interior design. The publisher went to great lengths to make the reading experience enjoyable. A deft use of two color printing creates accents in all the right places. And the page layout is easy on my old eyes. Thank you Writer’s Digest for an example of top drawer publishing.

Whether you are a novice or a published veteran in the industry there is something for you. The novice should return to the book again and again and practice what they have read! The experienced writer will find a great refresher course in ideas, but can also glean new insights to common problems.

In full disclosure, the author is a friend. We have taught at numerous conferences together over the years. But he has no idea I’m writing this review. And I still like him even though he quotes another agent in the book! Frivolity aside, I can, with full confidence, attest that Jim is the real deal. He has a teacher’s heart and truly wants to do whatever he can to help others succeed.

Do yourself a favor. Buy this book right now! Or put it on your Christmas wish list. It is reasonably priced (retail only $14.99 for 264 pages!)

All three online stores below have the book discounted for under $11.00 (as of the posting of this blog). Such a deal!

Writer’s Digest Books

Barnes & Noble

19 Responses to Art of War for Writers

  1. Richard Mabry November 24, 2009 at 12:44 pm #

    Couldn’t agree with you more. Great book. I even paid for my copy! At the risk of giving Jim delusions of adequacy, he’s done it again with this latest book for writers.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Kristen Torres-Toro November 24, 2009 at 1:55 pm #

    I will have to check this book out! Thanks so much for letting me know about it. “Plot and Structure” has been such a great tool. It sounds like I need–and will really enjoy–this book too!

  3. Steve November 24, 2009 at 2:14 pm #

    I paid for my copy too. I didn’t read it because it was given to me. In fact, James Scott Bell is so humble he didn’t even tell me he was writing this one!

    Can I be him when I grow up?

    The Steve Laube Agency

  4. James Scott Bell November 24, 2009 at 2:39 pm #

    Yes, Steve, you can be me, but only if you improve your jump shot.

    I thank you for the kind words. They mean a lot to me. The book was a labor of love for writers, and I’m glad it’s shaping up that way.

    And Doc and Kristen, thanks to you as well!

  5. Tiffany Trent November 24, 2009 at 3:27 pm #

    Oh darn. I was really hoping this book would teach me how to duel with other writers. I am sadly disappointed. 😉

  6. Jon Guenther November 24, 2009 at 8:19 pm #

    After having read Try Dying and getting a taste of Jim’s work, this will definitely be added to my bookshelf of references. Thanks for the insight, Steve.

  7. Christa Allan November 25, 2009 at 7:56 am #

    Thanks to Mary DeMuth for her FB update that sent me here. Love dueling with words. A few clicks, and I’m on my way to buying the book.

  8. Stacy Hawkins Adams November 27, 2009 at 8:51 am #

    Thanks for sharing! I’m buying my copy today. Looking forward to reading this, Jim!


  9. Alicia Costello November 27, 2009 at 12:54 pm #

    Putting it on my Christmas list! Thanks!

  10. Robin Caroll December 2, 2009 at 1:07 pm #

    I just received my copy and can’t wait to read it this evening amid the rain and cold. Good book to sit by the fire and read.

  11. Ben Whiting December 7, 2009 at 8:17 am #

    I love James Scott Bell’s how-to books on writing. Plot and Structure was my first exposure to him, and I’ve been a fan ever since. This is high on my desired acquisitions list.

  12. Sharon Ball December 7, 2009 at 1:10 pm #

    I just commented on a friend’s blog and mentioned that I plan on buying this book. Thanks for reinforcing all of the great feedback I’ve been reading about this book.

  13. Homemaker, MD December 12, 2009 at 8:16 am #

    I just got my copy of the original “The War of Art” and can’t wait to read it. I’m starting with it rather than this one because I tend love creativity in everything I do, including writing, of course. And I’m a landscape painter as well. I’m glad to know this version of the book exists, and it will be next on my list!

  14. Tracey Bateman December 15, 2009 at 7:42 am #

    I’m getting it! Today.

  15. Lynnette Kraft December 21, 2009 at 11:45 pm #

    This is my first time to your blog. Sounds like a great book! I’m not a fictional writer but would likely enjoy reading it anyway.

    It’s amazing to me how many writers are out there. Especially now that people are blogging – it’s kind of brought a gazillion writers out of the closet!

    I’m going to take a look around.
    Thanks for having a useful blog for writers.
    Lynnette Kraft
    Dancing Barefoot on Weathered Ground

  16. Gwenn Bethke January 24, 2010 at 11:25 pm #

    hi i really enjoyed your post and i will be sure to read through the rest of your blog… I really appreciate the way in which you look at this subject, looking at this in a new light as they say.. bookmarked!

  17. chris park March 2, 2010 at 2:13 pm #

    Steve, you should also try THE WAR OF ART by Steven Pressfield…

  18. Bruce May 21, 2010 at 4:18 pm #

    I just received my copy and can’t wait to read it this evening amid the rain and cold. Good book to sit by the fire and read.

  19. OLUSOLA SOPHIA ANYANWU June 28, 2020 at 1:11 am #

    Hi Steve,

    All I can say is that I see that you are blessed with multi tasking and you are several things rolled in to one and vice versa! Whatever way you cut, you are a success at it. Even the frivolity you mentioned in connection with Jim proves that – business is business!

    The book is worth getting. I love witty quotes too.

    You are blessed.

Get New Posts by Email

Get New Posts by Email

Each article is packed with helpful info and encouragement for writers. You can unsubscribe at any time with one click. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!