But that's not what The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell is. Not exactly.
I'm reading this book, and I've gotten through the first four chapters in Part I: Reconnaissance. It was given to me as a gift, and I figured it was high time I read through the whole thing. So far, it's got some pretty funny and dead on tidbits, wake-up calls, and advice, perfect for writers. Some of the things that have stood out to me in the first four chapters are the hero and fool comparison on pages 16-17, the writer's list on pages 11-13, and the short section of quotes to respond to on pages 13-15.
Know the difference between a hero and a fool. Chapter 3 of a page and a half is a brief but useful and amusing comparison between the two states of mind. It can be a nice reminder if you're not acting like the fool that you are on the right track, even if you don't feel heroic. If you are acting like the fool, well, you'd better change that or you're in trouble.
The writer must understand the essentials of success for a long-term writing career, and count the cost accordingly. To be a writer, you've got to want it. Chapter 2 provides a list of characteristics that writers should possess or develop. Some of it comes down to "if at first you don't succeed" and "never stop learning" - two bits of advice many of our parents gave us when we were children, but good advice to be reminded of nonetheless.
After the list of characteristics, the book offers its first interactive challenge. Read the quotes from George Bernau, Phyllis Whitney, and Jack Woodford and respond in the text's pages with your honest reaction (writing in a printed book is not always easy for me - I used a pencil).
What say you to Jack Woodford's statement? I'll be back to share my reaction.
In Boot Camp, tough sergeants deliberately try to break the morale of inducted men. Those who break they send back to civilian life, or to some more or less ignominious chore in army life. There are two or three hundred thousand 'writers' who 'write at' writing in this country. Ninety percent of them make next to nothing. The few who do get by are those who were not "broken" in the Boot Camp of their own wills, or lack of same.
(Jack Woodford as quoted in The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell. p14-15. Writers Digest Books, Cincinnati, Ohio. 2009.)