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!