Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Books on Writing can Entertain and Inform

James Scott Bell has written a bookcase full of action packed fiction as well as craft books for writers. In THE ART OF WAR, I read bite size chapters filled with advice and quotes.

Bell divides THE ART OF WAR into three parts: Reconnaissance, Tactics, and Strategy. 

1. Reconnaissance: Bell covers the mental side of writing. Like most writers, I fight off that voice in my head that pokes me with negative critiques. 

2. Tactics: Bell covers the craft of writing.
In chapter 48, Bell discusses a problem that I have noticed in peer critiques. The writer begins a scene with action - showing what happens. Then the action is stopped by an explanation of the character's action. Resist the Urge to Explain (RUE) or in other words just show, don't tell.

3. Strategy: Bell covers the business side of writing. 
"Put heart into everything you write." Don't allow your passion to create a barrier from understanding the business of publishing. 

In chapter 72, Bell shares tips on attending a writers' conference. Here's my favorite tip - "Always remember the two cardinal rules for the writers' conference attendee: Don't be dull and don't be desperate."

The book ends by highlighting five words from Sun Tzu: "wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage, and strictness." Bell writes, "You have it inside you to fight this fight. Write, think about what you write, then write some more."

Let the battle continue . . . .

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