If you are looking for the perfect gift for the novelist in your life, have I got an idea for you. Get a copy of James Scott Bell’s newest, The Art of War for Writers. I’ve read a boatload of writing books over the years, and I’ve got the bursting bookshelves in my writing corner to prove that I keep buying them and reading them. This one will sit next to my all time favorites, the ones I loan out the least because I need them near by.
Jim has taken the classic Art of War by the legendary strategist Sun Tzu and transformed the premise of how to win every challenge on the battlefield to how to win them at the writing table. And he deftly comminicates what every writer simply must hear: The exhausting struggle to write well is not just a lofty challenge only the Bravehearts and Hannibals of the world can conquer. I kept thinking as I read, “Hey! I can do that!” His presentation is cleverly concise, offering brilliant technique-building exercises that somehow don’t feel like exercise. I hate mindless exercise. This is not that. I own a lot of writing books that tell me: “This is how to write a great novel. It’s impossibly hard. Good luck.” This little gem says: “This is how to write a great novel. It’s hard, but not impossible. Here are your weapons. You can do it. See you on the other side!”
If I didn’t already own it, and someone asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I’d say I wanted this book. And it ain’t just because red’s my favorite color.
Have a lovely weekend. See you on Monday . . .