The Art of writing is similar to the Art of War | for CSS & PMS Aspirants


Written By Anum Saba

Writing and war are two quite distinct and separate disciplines. One has no relation with the other. One is associated with the pen while the other deals with sword. It is, therefore, paradoxical to make an attempt to compare them, but surprisingly enough there is much that is common to both the art of writing and the art of war.

Whatever the subject, theme or topic of writing, there must be an objective. Similarly every war must have an objective to be achieved. It may be said that an objective is basic to writing as well as to war. All efforts and attempts in a writing or in a war are directed towards achieving the objective, which is common to all activities and operations connected therewith.  

Another common factor between the two is planning. So far as the art of writing a drama or a novel is concerned, planning include the plot, characters, situations, suspense, and correlation between them. The writer has to select a theme, topic, or plot. He has to create such situations as are required to suit the development of the plot and make theme effective. The element of suspense is an essential characteristics of a good story, novel, or drama. A great amount of skill and dexterity is called for to handle this element in a successful manner. A writer has to plan to maintain a proper balance and correlation between all these factors.

With the reference to the art of war as well, planning is necessary. In this context planning covers a wide range of activities, such as provision of war materials, selection of suitable materials (arms and ammunitions), selection of suitable personnel for execution of operation, proper and effective coordination between various wings of the fighting forces, a well-considered strategy of operation, scope for tactical withdrawals to suit the situation. What is most important in the art of war is selection and provision of suitable armament needed for the proposed operation. The next step is to pick-up suitably competent mean for the execution of operations. Even the most effective armament would be of no use it the person in charge of the operations are incompetent. Different wings of the fighting forces must function under a unified command for achieving the objective. Relatively more important is the overall strategy of operation conceived by the general. It is equally important to provide for tactical withdrawal to suit the situations. All these functions are almost identical both to a general planning for a military campaign and a writer planning for a composition.

A successful writer is expected to have a thorough knowledge of human nature. Lack of such knowledge would render his writings unnatural and ineffective. Such a writer would fail in developing his plot in a natural manner and also in pre-judging the reactions of his readers. Such knowledge is equally important in the successful operation of a war. A general not equipped with the knowledge of human nature is likely to err in right selection of captains for his campaigns and also in pre-judging the reactions of his enemy to his tactical moves.

Just as special knowledge of the society, culture, and tradition of the people of the age pertaining to the subject matter of work is important to the writer, similarly a general must have special knowledge of the country, terrain, and people of the land of his operation. A general like a writer is most likely to commit blunders without a thorough knowledge of these aspects of the matter.

A writer must have a sense of timing, which makes all the difference between his success and failure. In the case of a war, the timing of the strike is crucial. A sense of timing is, therefore, as important in writing as in a war. Both in writing as well in war precision is vital. There is no place for superfluity and ambiguity in both the operations. Both in the art of writing and art of war adaptability to changing situations is of great value. Without this, the whole operation may crash against unforeseen obstacles.

In spite of so much similarity, there is no thoroughfare to the art of war as well as in the art of writing. Every venture has to be started in its own new way. In every venture, not the quantity but the quality matters. In both the spheres, an off-the-track and unusual start may sometimes bring remarkable success.       

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About the writer:

Miss Anum Saba is one of the bonafide students of Sir Syed Kazim Ali. She has completed her 4.5 month-course on Online Creative English Writing and Advanced Grammar under his patronage. Having done graduation in computer science and courses in creative English writing, she loves writing blogs and articles on various topics: current affairs, everyday science, technology, beauty, cooking, and entertainment.

Name of the Student: Miss Anum Saba
Qualifications: BSCS
Total Articles/Blogs: 10
English Coach: Sir Syed Kazim Ali
Course Taken: Creative English Writing & Article Writing

Like other competitive students, If you have a story to tell, guidance to help, knowledge to educate, or a perspective that can help CSS aspirants daily, welcome to CSSPrepForum. It is free to get your opinions, viewpoints, judgements, and thinking published, whether it is a blog, article, essay, application, letter, precis, comprehension, MCQs, or anything that helps competitive youth of Pakistan. CSSPrepForum is a place that let you connect with thousands of competitive readers, and helps your voice heard across the community. Let’s start writing and get your voice heard to those who are looking for you. Write to us

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