Dwight Swain: Techniques of the Selling Writer

For the next several weeks, I will be posting about the craft of writing based on Dwight Swain’s, Techniques of the Selling Writer. Every Monday and Wednesday, I will share a bit of what I’ve learned from Swain’s book, which, to be quite honest, is a goldmine of information. Yes, it’s couched in a lot of fancy rhetoric and wording, but the gold nuggets are there. And they are beautiful. Armed with my trusty highlighter, I always resurface from this book feeling as if somebody just handed me a new and important key to writing fiction.

So come join me on Mondays and Wednesdays so I can share my keys with you.
In the meantime, Dwight says only four things are needed to write a solid story:
1. How to group words into motivation-reaction units (MRUs)
2. How to group MRUs into scenes and sequels
3. How to group scenes and sequels into story patterns
4. How to create characters that give a story life
Sound simple enough? Of course not. But we’ll learn how to do it together!
Question to Ponder: What helpful keys have you uncovered recently, and what doors did they open?


19 thoughts on “Dwight Swain: Techniques of the Selling Writer

  1. Dwight Swain is wonderful. Hope you don’t mind, have linked to this page from my writing blog.

  2. I am a huge fan of Dwight Swain’s book. In fact I was just writing a blog for Savvy Authors and talking about this book. Its a must for every writer!

  3. Katie Ganshert

    Hey Christa! Thanks for visiting my blog! Yes, it is QUITE dense. But I find if I read it slow and have my trusty highlighter out, it's filled with great tips. I hope you come back to check out what I've learned.

    Funny about the dense comment. πŸ™‚

  4. christa

    I started reading this book…it's quite dense. Unfortunately, for entirely different reasons, so I am.

    Glad you're going to break it down. I probably should have just spend a month on every chapter!

  5. Katie Ganshert

    Jeannette – yes, BOC is invaluable! And could you please teach me a lesson in not wigging out, because I tend to do that more than I'd like. πŸ™‚

    Hope my posts will be helpful to you Jill!!

    Marybeth – Such a good nugget! Reading is the BEST way to improve your craft. at least that's my opinion.

  6. Marybeth Poppins

    I've uncovered the key to reading. I never realized how important reading was to being a writer. I always feared reading too much would interfere with my writing, I never realized that this is a GOOD thing πŸ™‚

  7. Jill Kemerer

    I've read it and now I want to read it again! Since I studied several books over the year, I find some of the lessons sank right in, while others haven't. I'm looking forward to reading your condensed version!

  8. Jeanette Levellie

    Oooh, sounds great!
    What have I learned lately?
    BOC = results. But that's not from a book. I have also learned that wigging out doesn't help. I tend to forget that about once a week.
    Audience of ONE

  9. Katie Ganshert

    Oooo! I hope I do a good job explaining it then, Bonnie! My post on MRUs isn't coming until next week. I already wrote it though. πŸ™‚

  10. Bonnie Doran

    I've heard of Dwight Swain but have never read his book. The MRU concept, which I first heard about from Randy Ingermanson, is one I've never understood, so I look forward to learning how Swain explains it.

  11. Lynnette Labelle

    Looking forward to this series. Thanks.

    Lynnette Labelle

  12. Katie Ganshert

    Jody – hubby was a gem! I got SO much done! I hope you're having a good summer too!

    YAY Krista – I'm excited that you're excited. πŸ™‚

    Elizabeth – Dwight Swains has some very good stuff to say. Very good.

    Eileen – that's a GREAT nugget. I'm looking forward to doing some of that today.

    Oooo! Wendy – I'm eager to get over to your blog to check it out!! And great tip! Thanks for sharing.

    Hey Tara – thanks for the sound advice!

    Jeannie – when do you hear back??????? You better either call me or text me or email me as soon as you do! If that sounded like a threat, it was. πŸ™‚

  13. Jeannie Campbell, LMFT

    hey…if you posts are detailed enough…i might not have to buy this craft book, which would be good, considering i still don't have a job yet! πŸ™‚

  14. Tara

    I'm looking forward to these posts.

    Nuggets: Treat writing like a business and you'll be more productive and prolific.

  15. Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought

    I was recently reminded not to forget about how important secondary characters are.

    Hey, come collect your award at my blog and read about yourself as a child. πŸ˜€
    ~ Wendy

  16. Eileen Astels Watson

    Looking forward to this series. MRU's sounds familiar. I think I've read this one or another of his. I'll have to check my shelves.

    Nuggets: "No excuses, just write, write, write!"

  17. Elizabeth Spann Craig

    Sounds interesting! I'm curious to see what his tips are.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  18. Krista Phillips

    I haven't read this one yet, so am VERY excited to read your posts!!!

  19. Jody Hedlund

    Oooh, sounds good!! I'll look forward to hearing all about this book. I can't remember if I read this one or not. I think I may have checked it out from the library at some point, but I'll definitely be interested in getting your insights from it!

    Hope you're enjoying your summer! I saw from Twitter that you got some great writing done on Sat. while your hubby took Brogan out! What a great guy!


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