The Art of War For Writers

I’ve never really considered myself to be a writer. I sort of just fell in to it through blogging. I’m continually growing, finding my style and turning to others for inspiration. I read obsessively about anything and everything.

I picked up The Art of War for Writers, mostly because it would look awesome on my someday office desk. It wasn’t until recently that I picked it up and read it.

The little reference book by James Scott Bell focuses mostly on novel writing but a lot of it can be applied to other circumstances. Like the title of the book hints, it compares writing a novel and getting it published to fighting in a war.
There are three sections in the book. Reconnaissance deals with the mental game of writing. This was probably my least favourite section as I found it obvious and fluffy. It might be a proper push for those who are afraid to write in fear of judgment. As a blogger, I feel like this fear is close to non-existent or I wouldn’t be a very good blogger.
The Tactics, the most resourceful section, is loaded with tips to improve as a novel writer, many of which can be translated into writing in general. One of my favourites tips is when you have writers block, call on a word and its cousins (synonyms or related words). They can strangely open you up to new pathways.

The final section is Strategy, where Bell gives tips on entering the publishing world including finding the right agents.

The book reads a lot like a series of 78 short blog posts. They get the point across and there are plenty of examples from existing fiction. I recommend this book to any writers (not just fiction) looking for quick tidbits of inspiration. Bonus, the book has a lovely design.



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