Book Review: Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain


Title: Techniques of the Selling Writer
Author: Dwight V. Swain
Genre: Fiction Writing
Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press; Revised ed. Edition (January 15, 1981)
Release Date: May 12, 2012
ISBN-10 : 0806111917
ISBN-13 : 978-0806111919
ASIN : B0099P9UI0
Price: $15.00 (Kindle)

    Writing a novel is a daunting task and this is the truth that Dwight V. Swain elucidated in his book,  Techniques of the Selling Writer.  Becoming a selling writer doesn't just happen, one has to make it happen.  A great effort must be put on learning the basic knowledge and techniques and the ins and out of a writing career and writing itself.

    Aside from creating a habit of writing every day, one of the things new writers must be willing to do is  to make mistakes. In this way, they will learn which things work and don't work for them. It's really challenging to have this mindset for sometimes they are afraid of the criticisms of other writers who are ahead of the game. This fear stops an aspiring writer from even starting a copy. However, unless he tries, he can't know how well he'll do.

    Swain couldn't stress enough how important it is to put together the elements that arouse emotions in readers. The absence of feelings reduces a story into an unworthy piece of a copy. Swain gave a lot of tips on how to use words as basic parts of a fiction to show not tell. These words strung together create motivation-reaction units, M-R units create scenes and sequels, scenes and sequels create a story pattern (beginning, middle, ending). Swain also gave explanations and specific examples on how to flesh out characters and the world they live in. The characters are the main vehicles of emotions as they act in the story world.

    Writing can be challenging but nothing can stop a novice writer from becoming an expert and be among the successful writers such as J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, and C.S. Lewis. With effort and skills, he can share the lives of the characters of his story in a way that evokes emotional connection with readers. In learning the basics of writing fiction, Techniques of the Selling Writer is a good book to start with.