Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Dwight V. Swain’

This is a pretty particular post, but it’s something that would have helped me, so here you go.

There are a lot of books and other resources out there for writers. A while back I mentioned a few of the ones I’ve found helpful, including this one:

Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain

At one point I read an Ilona Andrews* post mentioning they used the book when starting out, and decided to check it out. There’s a lot of useful material here. My edition looks like this:

Swain’s approach is very detailed, and while not the last word, obviously, he does have a Lot to say about the nitty gritty craft of writing. What, how, and why, all those questions everyone ahead of you seems to know but often don’t explain. And have I mentioned that this book is Very Detailed with Teeny Tiny Type? Even if you have the book, getting a handle on the discussion’s arc and the location of useful details was something I found time-consuming. So I wrote up an outline, including descriptions and page references for all the bits I wish the table of contents had included. Click the image below to view the full PDF.

* * *

Will this outline help you? If you have the book and are interested, yes. If you don’t have the book but wonder if you might be interested, this file will at least give you a sense of what’s included.

If you want to know more about techniques like Motivation-Reaction Units, I also suggest this summary post by K.M. Weiland:

Motivation-Reaction Units: Cracking the Code of Good Writing

And since we’re here, I’ll also mention Jim Butcher’s LiveJournal series on writing. He discusses outlines, characters, scenes and sequels that look a lot like Swain’s approach, and more:

‎jimbutcher.livejournal.com

* * *

Even if you don’t need this now, tuck it away in your stash of tools for writing. You never know when it might come in handy!

Photo by u015eahin Sezer Dinu00e7er on Pexels.com

* * *

* Love their work. Check it out if you’re into fantasy starring interesting magic, well-developed characters, smart, capable, kick-ass ladies, and more!

Read Full Post »

Writing is simple, right? Writing is considered a basic skill in our society and as such, people often look down on it as, well, a basic skill. Sadly, thinking that you can write an effective book/story/memoir/etc. because you are literate is like saying that because you can run down the block, you have what it takes to do the Boston Marathon.

As always, the devil is in the details. Sorting out those details, by understanding the process and which of the many aspects of art and craft you should work on, is key to becoming (and staying) a writer.

Much of what I read and write is speculative and genre fiction, and a few of my specific suggestions and references are colored accordingly. If speculative fiction isn’t your thing that doesn’t mean you can’t use these references. It just means that you may need to ask yourself questions like, “This is great, but how would an alien sea monkey’s need for interstellar love translate to a tailor in modern-day Calcutta?” All the better to exercise your creative faculties, I say. As you’ll see, though, most writing advice translates well across boundaries.

Here are a few pointers to get you started…

Resources I’ve Found Useful:

It will shock no one to learn that there are also a lot of writing resources on the web; often the problem is sorting through them all. Search for talks, interviews and essays by authors whose work speaks to you, see if their ideas or suggestions offer fuel for your fires. I’ve mentioned some links in previous discussions on writing and creativity already, and there are many (many, many) more. To get you started:

 

Life rewards action…. That story isn’t going to unf*ck itself.
— Chuck Wendig [asterisk mine]

There are all kinds of writers. Fiction vs. not, certainly, but also binge writers, morning writers, middle of the night writers, must have my pencils just so writers, deadline writers and cabin in the woods writers, can only write on used envelope writers, take your pick. Find what works for you.

Then write.

Read Full Post »