Customer Reviews for

The Art of War for Writers: Fiction Writing Strategies, Tactics, and Exercises

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  • Posted March 12, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Must Have for Writers

    This book is a must have for writers starting out in the craft. As a person who is working to refine my writing and get to the business of writing seriously, I have found the book to be extremely useful. The author has arranged the information in small parts so that you can pause at each to digest the information. He includes exercises designed to help not only the learning process but also for those times when you cannot think of a single thing to put on the blank page before you. The passages are helpful, inspirational, and motivational. There have been a number of times when I felt compelled to set aside the little book and immediately take up my pen to write something inspired by the ideas in its pages. I bought the book based solely on glancing over it at the bookstore but I could not be happier with the purchase. It is well worth the money spent as I am sure I will refer to it many times going forward.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2009

    Read this writing book before you read the others.

    I own (and love) both of James Scott Bell's How-To books, Plot & Structure, and Revision & Self-Editing. They're meaty, full of practical teaching and exercises for new and experienced novelists.

    The Art of War for Writers is a different animal. While this book also teaches and includes a number of hands-on exercises, it's more like sitting down with a wise old man (not that Jim Bell is old, mind you) and soaking up his expertise. Again and again--because the book is set up in quick, pithy snippets that can be consumed in-between demands on your time. I found myself looking forward to sneaking away for a chapter or two between my own bouts of writing and errand running.

    The inspirational quality of Bell's pointers will assure readers they can write their passion. But my favorite quality in this book reminded me of a scene in Moonstruck, when Cher's character smacks Nicholas Cage's love-struck character in the face and yells, "Snap out of it!" Bell dispels a number of misconceptions about novel writing, encouraging new writers to face reality and pursue success anyway.

    The book is visually attractive and would make a lovely gift book for any writer, novice or otherwise. If you're a writer or would like to be one, you'll want your very own copy, so you can mark it as you read. Why? Because the information Bell gives makes such perfect sense as you read it, you'll find yourself thinking, "Well, of course! I'm bound to remember that." But you won't. You'll want to come back to this little red gem time and again, to refresh, re-arm, and remember what makes a novel great. Highly recommended.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 13, 2014

    An excellent book on the craft, I highly recommend. You will wan

    An excellent book on the craft, I highly recommend. You will want to read it two or three times. 

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  • Posted February 5, 2010

    Writer Must-Have

    THE ART OF WAR FOR WRITERS by James Scott Bell is the handbook every writer must have. Set up in bite-size segments, it covers nearly every aspect of the writing life, from tips on character to creativity boosts to pithy advice on dealing with such hazards as envy and desperation. A writer can dip into the book at almost any point and come away refresed and encouraged.

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  • Posted January 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Attack ! Attack! and Attack again!!!

    Applies Sun Tsu's principles and applies them to the art of writing. Many helpful and inspirational ideas and principals which can be incorporated into a writer's "weapons of war". Well written and directed toward guiding writers through and around, when necessary, the minefields and strategic obstacles encountered during the writing process.....Great for the budding or experienced writer....Conquer writer's block; find inspiration; develop self confidence and learn to form a plan of battle to make writing that blockbuster novel less frustrating.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Must Have for Writers

    The Art of War for Writers is a must have for writers of all levels. As a published author, I wasn't sure I would benefit, but what I found was an excellent book on craft that helped me focus on new strategies and better ways to deal with my writing career. Bell gives tips on all aspects of writing in his book, but focuses primarily on ways to craft a better story. The writing is what it is about whether you are published or not. If you want to get better at writing, then read James Scott Bell's insightful book filled with advice from a publishing pro. -Tina Ann Forkner, Author

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 4, 2009

    A Definite Must-Read for Authors/Aspiring Writers

    When I saw the size of the book, in comparison to Bell's previous craft books (Plot & Structure and Revision & Self-Editing) I thought to myself, hmm, small book. But once I opened it and began reading, I realized how much vital information is packed into the pages. I devoured the book in one sitting and highlighted MANY pages. Matter of fact, the book now looks like it's multi-colored with all my different highlighting. This will definitely be a book I refer to again and again.

    Bell breaks The Art of War for Writers into sections, then parts inside those sections. It is my belief that every author, at every level, and every aspiring author should consider Bell's first section of the book (Reconnaissance) should consider this mandatory reading. With Bell's no-nonsense style, combined with wit that had me chuckling aloud, the information provided is true and accurate of the writer's life overall. I wish I'd had this section to read years ago.

    The second section of the book (Tactics)covers the overview of actual writing. Great exercise suggestions are provided as well as a wealth of information to help writers improve their craft and skill. Bell uses his own experiences to drive home the points, as if he were sitting across the table from you and sharing his expertise with you.

    The last section of the book (Strategy) provides key suggestions/information on the career of the author. His part on proposals had me nodding my head in agreement as I read.

    Overall, I have to give The Art of War for Writers my highest recommendation. This is a definite one to put on your wish list! And the size of the book? Well, made it easier to hold and it slips nicely into a laptop case/bag/backpack!

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  • Posted December 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great Writing Book In Easy-To-Take Form

    James Scott Bell's how-to books on writing, PLOT AND STRUCTURE and REVISION & SELF-EDITING, have pride of place on my bookshelf already. When I opened this one, I was prepared for another how-to work, but instead found that this little book is chock full of practical advice on all aspects of writing, not just the mechanics of putting the words on paper. Bell divides the book into three sections: reconnaissance (the ins and outs of the writing life), tactics (valuable advice about improving your writing), and strategy (practical words on the business side of writing--and writing is [or should be] a business).

    Bell peppers the book with excellent illustrations from novels and quotations from writers. Not only is it helpful, it's a fun read.

    This is a book that writers will read to deepen their understanding of and respect for their craft. Readers will enjoy reading it just to see what makes those strange people behind the keyboard tick.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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