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