Daily Archives: July 2, 2010

The Best Book on Writing I’ve ever Read!

And it is: Techniques of the Selling Writer, by Dwight V. Swain. 

Don't 'Click to Look Inside', because it won't work. If you do wish to see what lies behind the cover, pop over to Amazon 🙂

After a lifetime of writing, then teaching others to write, and write well (well enough to win awards, or have their stories turned into movies) Dwight wrote a book on the subject of writing. 

To say it covers everything a budding author needs to know is an understatement.  Written well before the digital age really took off, there are still plenty of references to typewriters; well, it was first published in 1965!  But the rest of the information remains very relevant to anyone wishing to write their first novel. 

Over the past 10 or so years, I have devoured books on writing, many of them carry much the same information, but in each of them there is some gem, some little nugget of gold, which made the effort of reading them worth it. 

Dwight’s book is different.  It is logical, practical and factual, and chock full of nuggets, each one he has earned the hard way throughout his life as a paperback writer. 

He clearly explains how to create believable characters, how to keep the reader reading by creating scenes and sequels, and helps you to dig into each of your characters motivations. 

As well as the mechanics of story telling, he covers some excellent advice re: the lifestyle of the budding author, tips and tricks to keep you writing, and shares many useful examples from his own, and other writers’, experiences:

On going from reading to writing: You can walk on carpets all your life, but if you were asked to make one from scratch, could you?

On persistence:  Don’t bite of more than you can chew. Do what you can when you can.  Too many writers suffer from that initial burst of enthusiasm before crashing and burning by trying to do too much too quickly (this also applies to diets and exercise!)

After reading Dwight’s book, and filling my notebook with several pages of hastily scrawled notes, I have been able to see some obvious holes in my work which I can now rectify. 

I’d heartily recommend this book to anyone who is keen on learning the craft of writing, as well as picking up some solid, down to earth lifestyle tips.

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