james scott bell

Review of ‘The Art of War for Writers’

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Best-selling author James Scott Bell channels the Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu in The Art of War for Writers, a book of strategies, tactics, and exercises to help a writer navigate the terrain of creating characters and plots that will captivate readers.

Writing, Bell maintains, is a lot like waging war, and using the tactics of Sun Tzu, Bell takes readers on a journey through the campaign of bringing stories to life in a way that makes perfect sense. The final chapter alone is worth the price of the book; the writer must apply wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage, and strictness in the craft of writing, for it’s only through mastering these traits that truly great writing can be achieved.

So, be wise, and sincerely get this book for your reference library, and then have the courage to strictly apply the guidance contained therein to ensure benevolence in your writing.

I give it five stars.

Review of ‘Sucker Punched’

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Sucker Punched by James Scott Bell is both pleasing and disappointing at one and the same time. Bell’s short tale of Jimmy Gallagher, an Irish pugilist in L.A., and his bulldog Steve, is a delight to read. It’s funny – I mean, really funny – to follow Gallagher and Steve as he decides to get his shirt cleaned at J. Wong’s laundry, plays Sir Galahad when Wong is bullied by a German boxer with a glass jaw, gets him arrested as a vagrant, and then beaten senseless by the cops, and if that’s not enough, finds himself kidnapped by a Chinese gang that insists he must engage in a ‘fight to the death.’

Witty dialogue and a gritty setting – probably a part L.A. you’d want to avoid – just sucks you right in. Then, darn it, Bell disappointed me by ending the story. There I was wanting to know what trouble Jimmy would get into next, and ‘bingo!’ the story was over. I guess, though, I can forgive the author this minor disappointment, because he promises more. Well, he danged well better deliver on that promise – I’ll be waiting.

I’m giving this book five stars on account – on account of, I’m anxious to see the next one.