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Dwight Swain

Master Writing Teacher
Narrated by: Dwight Swain
Length: 2 hrs and 59 mins
4 out of 5 stars (96 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

One of the best writing teachers in the English language on how to structure your novel and how to build strong story people who will enrich your fiction.

Structuring Your Novel

A step-by-step guide to writing stories you can sell. Learn how to:

  • Conceive and cast your work
  • Find the spine
  • Drive the plot forward
  • Use scene and sequel as building blocks
  • Create conflict
  • Use the springboard scene
  • And much, much more!

How to Build Fictional Characters

Learn how to:

  • Create memorable heroes and villains
  • Make your characters likeable
  • Give your characters purpose
  • Put story people in danger
  • Discover a character's attitude and motivation
©1992 Dwight Swain (P)2003 Writer's AudioShop

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Pretty solid advice

Swain has the credentials to know what he's talking about here. These are recordings of a series of lectures at a writers conference, I presume. They suffer from age a bit, the fact that he seems to refer to slides we the listener can't see, and rather than discussing general concepts, sometimes forces definitions that don't always work. Nevertheless, he does know what he's talking about and will no doubt job your memory as a writer to strengthen your characters, tighten the action, and revise ruthlessly.

10 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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3 ½ stars.

Might be good for an author just starting out. Might be good for authors who feel stuck and could use a nudge. The best part is you can listen while driving your car. Dwight Swain published a lot of fiction as well as some how-to-write books. This audiobook is two lectures he gave around 1991 for writer workshops.

Many of his thoughts are simple and obvious. Example: every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. But I could see the following. Someone is writing a book and is kind of stuck, so they listen to this tape. Then they think oh yeah, I could try this, or I should do that. Then they would go back to their writing. I see it as a jog for writers.

A few thoughts from the lecture:

Alfred Hitchcock quote: Drama is life with the dull parts left out.

The strength of your villain is the strength of your story. The bad guy is ruthless to get what he wants, even if it is just the corner office.

Every chapter needs a climax (disaster, crisis). Authors should stretch out the climax scenes. A disaster could be winning the lottery. Disasters don’t have to be bad.

The main character wants something. It could be relief from a boss, change in climate, revenge...

A story is a record of how somebody deals with danger.

Books on the craft of writing:
I purchased and started reading Swain’s book “Techniques of the Selling Writer” published in 1965. I couldn’t get into it. It reads like an encyclopedia. But for some, that could be good.

I loved the following two books that I think would be useful to all fiction writers. “Stein on Writing” by Sol Stein and “On Writing” by Stephen King.

Genre: nonfiction, how to write.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Dwight Swain Live!

I missed attending a Dwight Swain Workshop while he was living. This live workshop really brought home all of the points Dwight Swain makes in his book Technique of the Selling Writer. and I absolutely adored listening to his voice and advice. If you've read the Technique of the Selling Writer, then you will love this audio book, because it puts Dwight right into your ear and your heart. As they say on the children's reading show, "You don't have to take my word for it." Get for yourself, and I believe that it will be the best dollar you've spent on writing technique books.
MC

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • T.
  • 02-05-08

Dwight Swain

If this work seems dated,consider that Dwight Swain died in 1992 @ age 77.

4 people found this helpful

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It's actually Douglas Swain delivering 3 Seminars

If you've read Techniques of the Selling Writer, you'll know that Douglas Swain has a good amount of helpful, general prescriptive writing advice. His advice is a very good foundation for any aspiring writers looking to write long form fiction. Much of the material in that book is explored in an approachable fashion in these 3 Seminars. Not everything in the book is covered, of course, but if you found Techniques a bit too dry, then this is a painless way of getting the gist of the material.

If you HAVE read Techniques, you won't find much here you haven't heard before. Though it is edifying to hear the material presented verbally. Why there isn't an audiobook for Techniques, I can't say.

One point of advice--Swain talks fairly slow. So you might want to set the playback speed to x1.5,

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Best writing advice ever

Dwight Swain's instruction on scene and sequel is the worth the price of admission, and more. OF course, this book has much more going for it than that. I've read and listened to a lot of books on writing. Dwight Swain remains one of my favourite instructors. I just wish they would produce an audiobook version of his book, "Techniques of the Selling Writer." Although I love this audiobook by Dwight Swain and know that there isn't a narrator who would be such a pleasure to listen to, I would still love to have his classic on audio.

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crate craft advice for writers

this is kind of a Charming short audiobook with some very specific technical advice for how to craft characters and have them function effectively in a story. It's actually a collection of several presentations done at different times so there's a bit of overlap but I would still advise you to listen to the entire thing.

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better than Stein On Writing

Far better than Stein On Writing. If you are tired of snarky, literary types teaching you how to write, then you'll love Swain.

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Experience Across All Genres

Amazing breath of experience from Fantasy and Si Fi to Westerns. Every sentence is significant.

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Lovely seminar by Dwight

Love Mr Swain presentations on writing. Wish could find more seminars by him on audible.

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  • Mr Craig Bennett
  • 04-11-19

Priced a bit high

While some of the points are of interest, this audiobook covers two lectures that have basically the same information. For the price, I think it would be best to buy his printed book.