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Writing Advice from the Bookshelf: James Scott Bell on Heroes and Fools

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Excerpt from “Know the difference between a hero and a fool” in The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell:


If you want to be a writer, know this:

A hero knows it takes hard work and a long time to get published; a fool thinks it should happen immediately, because he thinks he’s a hero already.

A hero learns the craft; a fool doesn’t think there’s much to learn.

A hero keeps growing all his writing life; a fool thinks he’s fully grown already.

A hero fights to make his writing worthy, even when no one’s noticing; a fool demands to be noticed all the time, even if his writing stinks.

A hero is persistent and professional; a fool is insistent and annoying.

A hero gets knocked down and quietly regroups to write again; a fool gets knocked down and whines about it ever after.

A hero makes his luck; a fool cries about how unlucky he is.

A hero recognizes the worth in others; a fool can’t believe others are worth more than he.

A hero keeps writing, no matter what, knowing effort is its own reward; a fool eventually quits and complains that the world is unfair.

Be a hero.

Works Cited:

Bell, James Scott. The Art of War for Writers: Fiction Writing Strategies, Tactics, and Exercises. Cincinnati, OH: Writer’s Digest Books, 2009. 16–17. Print.

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