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Some time ago, I lamented at the state of my bookshelves. I wanted new ones, but couldn’t find the right one for the right price.  The other weekend, I discovered two bookcases that fit the bill.  They were actually taller than 6 feet, and they didn’t wobble like my old shelves.

I’ve been busy going through my book collection and deciding what would stay and what would go.  I’ve arranged and rearranged books, and I think I am now ready to share the Before and After pictures.


My very inexpensive Wal-mart shelves.


My new and improved book holder.

This one looks like the little sister.

Sun Tzu Emerges.

I immersed myself in the pleasant task sorting my books into various categories. As I carried armloads of books between rooms, I discovered, or rather, I rediscovered books I had forgotten about.  I found these three little books on the philosophy of conflict.

Apparently, I like Sun Tzu.

The Art of War by Sun Tzu

The Art of War For Writers by James Scott Bell

Sun Tzu Was A Sissy by Stanley Bing.

If you’ve never heard of The Art of War or Sun Tzu then you may not have been listening closely enough because there are lots of references to this guy in pop culture.  Sun Tzu was a military general who lived about 2000 years (or more) ago.  He penned The Art of War, which has influenced military leaders, conquerors, and businesspeople — so basically, anybody who wants to win a conflict.

Cymraeg: Sun Tzu. mwl: Sun Tzu. Português: Sun...

Cymraeg: Sun Tzu. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Of Strategic Assessments, Master Sun saysMilitary Action is important to the nation– it is the ground of death and life, the path of survival and destruction, so it is imperative to examine it.

On Spies, Master Sun says:  It is essential for a leader to know about the five kinds of espionage, and this knowledge depends on reverse spies, so reverse spies must be treated well.

Does this sound like it could be applicable in the work place?  It can be.  Sun Tzu Was a Sissy (Conquer your Enemies, Promote your Friends and Wage the Real Art of War) takes some of these principles and modifies them for waging war in the real world, like the workplace.

The Art of War for Writers is a clever play on Sun Tzu’s tips for conquering one’s adversary, which in some cases can be the writing process.  Dorothy Parker has said “I hate writing, I love having written.”  Since it’s NaNoWriMo, a lot of you are hunkering down to bring your novel to life.  I salute you.  I’ve never participated in this event (it looks like a lot of fun), and some day I hope to.  Right now, there are a lot of other things competing for my time and attention.  In support of all those participating, let me share a few writing tips from The Art of War for Writers.

  1. Deploy a character who reveals both inner struggle and inner conflict.
  2. The innovative writer will sometimes write dialogue only, then fill in the blanks.
  3. Finish your novel, because you learn more that way than any other.

What do your bookshelves hold?  Or perhaps you are also preparing for NaNoWriMo? Good luck!