Techniques of the Selling Writer – Fiction Strategy

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” – Mark Twain This series of articles assumes you want to write stories and find an audience of loyal readers, who then influence new readers, who then themselves become loyal readers.  You can do that in your sleep, right? In order for us to tackle this, we have …

Letting Go of Ideas

Is there an appropriate time to kill an idea? That precious kernel I’ve spent months cherishing; is it one of those darlings that William Faulkner wants me to take out behind the barn and make sure it never bothers anyone again? Or maybe not kill it, but slap it around and convince it to change its ways? As a writer, I can …

Techniques of the Selling Writer – Scene and Sequel

“The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” – Thomas Paine Conflict — the stuff good fiction is made of. A story without it is like a sugar-free donut. You only end up with a bland, fried bagel still sitting in the pink cardboard box at the end of the day. Not too many people care about someone who’s …

Techniques of the Selling Writer – Feelings and Manipulation – Part 1

“I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.” – Oscar Wilde In the previous article, we discussed choosing the right words to achieve an important goal in fiction – manipulating reader feelings. Now we’re going to zoom out a little and focus on how we do …

Techniques of the Selling Writer – Feelings and Manipulation – Part 2

With the idea of cause and effect firmly in our grasp, we can safely dive into Motivation-Reaction Units (MRU). Shape Emotion through MRUs At its most basic level, an MRU is a pure cause-effect pattern. “It is cause and effect applied to people. Cause becomes motivating stimulus … effect, character reaction.“ Swain defines a motivating stimulus as “anything outside your focal character to which …

Techniques of the Selling Writer – Introduction

“The best way to learn is to teach.” – Frank Oppenheimer This post serves as an introduction to a new series I’ll be writing this year, focusing specifically on Dwight V. Swain’s Techniques of the Selling Writer. I’ve spent the past six months reading, rereading, and marking up this “Fiction Writer’s Bible” and I felt a desire to share the ideas it …

Thinking About Stories

I had an epiphany the other day. I wondered if part of my struggles with the novel writing process was due to lack of mental preparation. I’m not even talking about putting together a beginning-to-end outline. I’m talking way before that point. Where I’m really chewing over story ideas, taking notes as they run through my head. Picking and choosing plausible plot …

a lego world…

In between whittling away the hours on my current writing lesson, I came across this excellent interview with Jon Spaihts, co-writer of the upcoming Prometheus movie. He spits out some insightful bits on his world building process and I hope you find the interview as useful as I did. -beatbox32

burst my bubble, please…

I love being humbled. Yeah, it’s painful at first, but that’s the point. You can’t pop a bubble without making a mess. It’s up to you to clean it up right away or let it fester. Humility is being honest with yourself and the world, and most of the time, it’s the only way to get better at something. You …