John R. Swift

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March 2012


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John R. Swift This is a great question and one I have had to personally struggle with. I call it "writing myself into a corner." Richard Russo has an interview in…moreThis is a great question and one I have had to personally struggle with. I call it "writing myself into a corner." Richard Russo has an interview in which admits that every novel presents new writer's block possibilities for him. Experience, then, does not make the problem go away. I confess to reading and rereading what Aristotle had to say about writing 2500 years ago in On Poetics. The essence of what he had to say about plot structure is that changes in the Hero's fortune must occur by consequence, not by chance. Therefore, I construct a parallel document to my novel and when I find myself in a corner, I try to write down the problem as clearly as I can and then start writing out the possible solutions to the problem at hand, creating at least three and taking the one which most fully enriches the book, and is probably the hardest one on the protagonist. and develops by consequence, not chance. By the publication of my novel, my parallel document has about as many words as the novel itself. It has rescued me from many a corner. It also contains much of the raw research necessary to create verisimilitude.

In my current novel, Diamonds, I wanted one of my characters to have to deal with a large bag of diamonds. But how does one do that, without paying for them, per se? I could steal them, find them on the street, or maybe complete some job and receive the diamonds as payment. Where and what could that be? And how then to bring them into the USA through customs without paying duties or inviting some later problems. You can check out my book at the local library and find how Aristotle might do it. (less)
Average rating: 3.5 · 2 ratings · 5 reviews · 5 distinct works
Book of Laws

really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 1 rating — published 2011 — 2 editions
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Taconite: A Sheriff Gogebic...

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The Chicago Connection

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Diamonds

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Living with Capone

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Bring Up the Bodies
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The Lost Continen...
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How Fiction Works
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John Swift liked a quote
“Buddha once said to a man who was insulting and criticizing him, “If someone offers you a gift and you decline to accept it, to whom does it belong?”
The man replied, “Then it belongs to the person who offered it.”
To which Buddha replied, “That is correct.  So if I decline to accept your abuse, does it not then still belong to you?”
Anthony Robins
John Swift wants to read 75 books in the 2017 Reading Challenge
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Wild by Cheryl Strayed
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This is a memoir Ms. Strayed wrote about her life twenty years ago and she remembers it in vivid detail. I read this book 8 months ago and waited until now to write a review and confess that Orwell's "soft snows" of time have "blurred the outlines an ...more
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Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
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I just have to tell somebody (who understands) what a terrible book Wolf Hall
>> is, despite its winning the Man Booker Prize for 2009. Two or three povs in
>> a single paragraph. Multiple, and routine, use of pronouns in a single scene
>
...more
John Swift is starting Bring Up the Bodies: I tried to read Mantel's previous Man Booker prize winner, Wolf Hall, and got my brain completely twisted backwards trying to follow her chaotic pronoun referents.(Who is this he supposed to be this time?) Hoping for a little more grammatical orthodoxy in this one.
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
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Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
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The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson
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How Fiction Works by James  Wood
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More of John's books…
“Buddha once said to a man who was insulting and criticizing him, “If someone offers you a gift and you decline to accept it, to whom does it belong?”
The man replied, “Then it belongs to the person who offered it.”
To which Buddha replied, “That is correct.  So if I decline to accept your abuse, does it not then still belong to you?”
Anthony Robins




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