Wonderful reference book!

I thought I’d share a book that someone recommended to me years ago.  It is still on my self and will remain there until I become too feeble to write.  Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain is an amazing tool to help the beginner and intermediate writer.  I still look over it when I remember to take some time out and learn more on the technical aspects of writing.

This is the book where I learned about scene and sequel, action and reaction and how a more specific, concrete noun will give a more vivid picture.  It covers everything from characterization and plotting to the importance of a book’s climax.  The book also goes into depth on what makes a book great–from sentence composition to the book’s beginning, middle and end.

I just pulled it from my shelf today to get the name of the author.  After skimming through its pages, I know I’ve got to take another look.  Every single time I do, I always come away with something new I have to remember.


3 responses to “Wonderful reference book!

  1. Thanks, Carol. I’m always looking for information to help me to be a better writer. I’m going to look for this book.


  2. I don’t know if I have a favorite. I just counted and I have 94 books on writing and there could be more in the bedroom, not numbered. I have a shelf above my computer where I stick books I’ve used until I put them away. So the most recently used books were: Elements of Writing by Robert Scholes and Carl H. Klaus; The Writer’s Guide to Character Traits by Linda N. Edelstein, Ph.D.; The Elements of Style by Strunk and White; and the last one was Revision by Kit Reed.

    The only book I can say I devoured, as these can be slow reading, is Steven King’s book On Writing. I recently purchased a three or four part lecture on Empowering Characters’ Emotions by Margie Lawson, but have only begun to study it.
    One point I enjoyed in Margie’s lecture, and I’ll put this in my own words, is writing FRESH. Do you start a sentence and the reader can anticipate how it will end? This is my example…He was as hungry…as a horse. It’s a cliché and it’s predictable. And that’s the problem with clichés…they are predicable enough the reader can guess what you are about to say.

    Now I’m in a studying mood…sure wish I was on my way to Jerome with you guys!


  3. Brit, I wish you were coming! Thanks for the tip. I’ll have to look up Margie Lawson. I still find myself doing cliches.

    94 books? I’m impressed. I know I have a couple of boxes of reference books, but I never counted them. Probably because it would tell me just how much I’ve spent on them.


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