Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Summary of Swain

It seems like I read Swain a hundred years ago now and I still have this book, except my book is the one with the yellow cover. And full of underlined text. His book is still considered as one of the best books on the craft of writing, and his ideas in the book have spawned a lot of other books on writing.

I recently found a great blog post that provides a brief summary of the best elements in Swain's book. It is definitely worth a read and for more details, get a copy of Swain's book because he goes in detail about every nuance of a story.

From JJ Marsh's blog: Ten Things I Learned

 Dwight V Swain – Techniques of the Selling Writer.
I read Swain’s book a long time ago but recently picked it up again as a refresher.
Here’s a summary of the bits I found most pertinent.
1.      Story elements: character, situation, objective, opponent, disaster. Write the story question: two sentences – one statement which establishes character, situation and objective. One closed question which nails opponent and disaster. 

When high-profile Fat Cats start committing suicide, Detective Beatrice Stubbs investigates if something more than conscience got to them. Can she track down the puppeteer behind these murders before the killer cuts her strings?
2.      Get started: use desire, danger and decision. Start with a change – a character in an existing situation is affected by an event, triggering consequences. But answer the three reader questions: Where am I? What’s up? Whose skin am I in?
Don’t labour backstory; the past holds no suspense. The end of the beginning comes when the character has committed to action, to answering the story question. Will she? Can she? The reader must care.
To read the rest of the post, click here.

Hope everyone is having a great week!  I'm in the process of learning to format e-books, so keep me in your thoughts!!!  LOL!

Be sure to stop by here on Friday. Author Jenna Jaxon is gonna be my guest!


jilljmarsh said...

Thanks for this Patricia! Good luck with the blog. *waves across continents at a like mind*

Patricia Preston said...

JJ: Hi! I have been out most of the day. Hope you've had a good one. I loved your post.

Debbie Herbert said...

Great info - I appreciate summaries because time is so sparse. Great blog post Pat.

Patricia Preston said...

Thanks, Debbie! I thought it was good!