Years ago, a writer gave me a life-changing gift—Dwight Swain’s book: Techniques of the Selling Writer.
Dwight Vreeland Swain (1915–1992) was an author, screenwriter and teacher—no mere teacher but the acclaimed Master Instructor of Fiction Techniques (print and film). A member of the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame, he taught for 20 years in the Professional Writing Program at the University of Oklahoma.
Swain’s techniques apply to all fiction and creative nonfiction works, any genre, any age readership. I’m proof of his method’s universal effect, having used his approach to write newspaper columns, essays, history books, picture books, chapter books for young readers, and historical fiction and mysteries for YA and Adults.
Do yourself a tremendous favor—study Swain’s techniques to better understand a story’s true beginning, middle, and end. Then try his methods to craft scenes and sequels, vivid settings, dimensional characters, and believable dialogue. I’d bet by the time you complete his lessons, you’ll master the essential story elements of logic and emotion. So give yourself the gift of his book—you won’t regret it.
If you’re already familiar with Techniques of the Selling Writer, do you agree with those of us who call him a Master Instructor? Or do you give that distinction to another author of writing books?