- Paperback: 344 pages
- Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press; New edition edition (January 15, 1981)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0806111917
- ISBN-13: 978-0806111919
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 227 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,737 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Techniques of the Selling Writer New edition Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
Top customer reviews
I can not recommend it highly enough.
Keep in mind this is very logically presented. I don't recommend it for seat-of-the pants types.
This book initially threw me for loop. Through the first 50 pages I just didn't get it and kept asking myself why it seemed so disorganized, or more properly, organized so unlike other texts on improving writing skill/understanding the craft. I almost abandoned this book. Because of presentation I almost missed the message. That would have been a shame since the message is quite possibly the best I've read in my effort to learn the writing craft.
I suppose it could be conditioning or prejudice that established my apparent want for an easier format so if you're a person who appreciates a more structured format that tends to lend itself to teaching the written word you may feel the same way about this book but I urge you not to abandon it and consider what finally dawned on me, it's written as if it's a conversational or lecture format. It may have only been me who feels this way about the format so I've possibly spent unnecessary time explaining a personal problem. Either way I suggest you read this book if you want to technically understand what came instinctually to you before.
The author takes an approach of explaining the construct of a good story, at novel length, in technical reasoning that tells you how elements of a story can be put together so they work and are effective. He explains there are no tricks or rules. He contends that if you use your existing knowledge of what a good story is to you, apply understanding of the method of how it was created, and work on your craft - learning as you go by doing you might succeed as a writer. His goal is to improve the odds for you.
I've read many books on writing better but they've nearly all assumed a certain level of ability to begin with, as in you're probably on the cusp of success and this book will take you over the top. Mr. Swain's book assumes nothing and teaches you the craft. Although I think I knew a thing or two about writing before his book I believe he taught me understanding, in depth, of what I knew as well as understanding of many things I didn't know.
He will ask you to learn about yourself as a writer, examine your motivation so to speak. He talks about your never ceasing hunt for the right words in your current work so you communicate the desired message to the reader. He provides techniques in how to set the mood or feeling in your story. Of course the main issue in a work of fiction is conflict. When done with his chapter on conflict you'll know how to effectively and efficiently build it. He explains the construction of a story unit by unit in his chapter BEGINNING, MIDDLE, END. You might be surprised by what you learn. I don't think I've ever seen this detail examined as he has done it in any other text. I gained a much greater understanding of story people in his chapter devoted to the subject. He goes on to examine what all this means to a writer who wants to create commercial fiction, the goal of the book, and gives you his thoughts.
I just finished reading the book and want to start again so I have the ideas firmly rooted in my brain before I put the next word in my story. This book was originally copyrighted in 1965 so be prepared for life as it was then in his examples. I feel it's the only portion of the book that dates it. Otherwise it is relevant in every respect. I'm glad it wasn't the first book I read on writing but I'm also glad I finally read it. It will have a place next to the other very limited set of relevant texts which occupy my resource shelf on my desk. Two of the other four essential resources are THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE, and Webster's Dictionary.
This book is essensial for any writer who wants to be published or win contests. I have taken writing courses where "Techniques of the Selling Writer" was the featured book. You can forget all the other writing books out there because this book is written like a college course. Even though the writer has a PhD, the book is written in simple language that most lay people can understand. The good thing: one does not have to drag themself out of bed, worry about the weather or rush our traffic to go to classes offered by this professor - instead you have his course wrapped up in 316 pages!
The book has all the tricks of the trade for writing a manuscript that will sell. Add your creative genius to the knowledge you will gain by studying this book, stamina, endurance, and.... all the other guts you require to write and you may have the glory of reading your work in print.
Professor Dwight Swain taught journalism at the University of Oklahoma.
This book comes in paperbook too, and isvprobably easier to find. By reading it and using your imagination soon you will be sitting in Professor Swain's class soaking up all his knowledge.
The joy of reading: on your own terms, time and place, is that you have the ability to open the door to learning when you are ready.