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Techniques of the Selling Writer
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message 1: by Alex (new) - rated it 1 star

Alex (asato) Anyone game?

I bought it and got to page 1 yesterday. It talks states that there are only 4 things you need to know and one of them is "scene and sequel", which is also what Jim Butcher recommends in his


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments I'm in. Two chapter review every Friday?


message 3: by Alex (new) - rated it 1 star

Alex (asato) Tara wrote: "I'm in. Two chapter review every Friday?"

you're hardcore.

starting tomorrow? i can read 35pp tonight.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Yeah! See you on Friday ;)


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Okay, um, wait. I spoke WAY too soon! There is no Audible version of the book, so...might be a problem for me...I'll get back to you...


message 6: by Alex (new) - rated it 1 star

Alex (asato) Tara wrote: "Okay, um, wait. I spoke WAY too soon! There is no Audible version of the book, so...might be a problem for me...I'll get back to you..."

i'm waiting w/bated breath.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Um, yeah...that whole vision thing lol. If the book is on ibooks we're good. Be right back...


message 8: by Tim (new)

Tim Rees | 732 comments Buddy read? What's a buddy read? :/


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Abuddy read is a two (or more) person book discussion. Or, in my case, a book discussion wherein one doesn't look before one leaps.


message 10: by M.L. (last edited Jul 28, 2016 05:48PM) (new)

M.L. Count me in on this. I read the first chapter. Good stuff! One example: I've seen other advice saying do this or that exercise. I've never done that. Swain says no: "The man who cottons to exercises generally is not cut out to be a fiction writer. He's certainty-oriented; reaching out for a sure thing."

I'll be moving on to Chapter 2. This is fun.

I'll alternate this read with my SF Asimov. Swain mentions feelings in a big way. Asimov is very much describing the feelings of the detective. So the Asimov is almost a companion read. You could say the same thing for the Tom Clancy Jack Ryan I just finished - tons of feelings, emotions from Jack Ryan.

I bought it too, by the way, good old Amazon Prime! :-)


message 11: by Alex (new) - rated it 1 star

Alex (asato) Excellent! Which Asimov?


message 12: by M.L. (new)

M.L. The Naked Sun book 2 in the Elijah Bayley detective series. Lots of internal conflict from Bayley - and it comes through really well because Asimov, like the SF writers of his time, did not write massive books - they are streamlined.


message 13: by Tim (new)

Tim Rees | 732 comments Tara wrote: Abuddy read is a two (or more) person book discussion. Or, in my case, a book discussion wherein one doesn't look before one leaps.

Thanks, Tara.


message 14: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Good book! Some info is a little dated, but overall I find it sound.

There is humor, too, or at least I thought it was funny.
Swain: "My guess is that occasionally we all tend to get tangled up in the maze of our own thinking."
So, from direct experience, if you've ever written something and thought, hey, wait, why don't I just break that up, it's probably for a good reason.

On to Chapter 3!


message 15: by Alex (new) - rated it 1 star

Alex (asato) Thx, M.L.!

I'll read it tonight & post my thoughts.


message 16: by Alex (last edited Jul 30, 2016 12:32PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Alex (asato) M.L. wrote: "Count me in on this. I read the first chapter. Good stuff! One example: I've seen other advice saying do this or that exercise. I've never done that. Swain says no: "The man who cottons to exercise..."

so, what? no writing prompts? last summer, my daughter took a creative writing class and all they did was writing prompts and she hated it--she wanted to get on with her own story, which she'd already started. in spite of the fact that i had never really done writing prompts either, i told her that writing prompts are good practice, but she wasn't convinced.

i guess she was right and i should've heeded my own personal practices--or lack thereof.

M.L. wrote: "Swain mentions feelings in a big way. Asimov is very much describing the feelings of the detective."

Yes! He cautions against writing too objectively instead about feelings. This idea is pretty much in line w/Poetics:
"The poet's job is to use representation to make us enjoy the tragic emotions of pity and fear, and this has to be built into his plots."
M.L. wrote: "Good book! Some info is a little dated, but overall I find it sound.

There is humor, too, or at least I thought it was funny.
Swain: "My guess is that occasionally we all tend to get tangled up i..."


yes, the book is written for the traditional market.

i really like how he breaks it down into bite-sized steps.
motivation-reaction units -> scenes-sequel -> story patterns + interesting characters
yes, in addition to the advice on breaking up convoluted sentences, chapter 2 is chock-full of other good sentence-level advice, including the avoidance of adverbs and the emphasis on active verbs (as opposed to static verbs like "to be"). the main thrust is to write vividly, clearly, and place the writing within the scene appropriately: who, what, why, where, when, how (the standard questions that journalists must answer in an article).


message 17: by M.L. (new)

M.L. I think prompts can be useful if someone doesn't have a story immediately in mind. I'm on the other side of that--too many ideas. Stephen King in his book on writing actually gave writing 'assignments.' I think that's where I stopped reading it. It was a good memoir though about his writing.
The practice of using prompts however, unless briefly, goes against the other rule - write what you love - and your daughter was doing just that!


message 18: by Alex (last edited Jul 30, 2016 11:18PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Alex (asato) M.L. wrote: "The practice of using prompts however, unless briefly, goes against the other rule - write what you love - and your daughter was doing just that!"

lol. how true!

i'm reading it today. on p.44, this emphasis really hit home to me. i've heard it many times before, but perhaps it's just the timing--and Ann keeps talking about "feels"--but i really believe it now:
"Without feeling, he [the reader] won't care what happens in your story.
If he doesn't care, he stops reading.
And you're dead."
EDIT: to be clear, this feeling is mainly directed at the MC.


message 19: by M.L. (new)

M.L. I'm just over half way - took time out to read another book (2 books, one done and one in progress) - but will be going back to this one soon. Lots of good info. It will probably come down to 1 or 2 actionable take-aways.


message 20: by Alex (new) - rated it 1 star

Alex (asato) you're a fast and dedicated reader! i'm only on p.66. i'll post some thoughts tonight.

it might be interesting to compare it to jim butcher's writing advice on livejournal, which takes the same scene-sequel tack:

http://jimbutcher.livejournal.com/


message 21: by M.L. (new)

M.L. I'm in a mostly reading mode at present! Thanks for the link, I added it to favorites and will be reading it too.


message 22: by M.L. (new)

M.L. I skimmed over Butcher's posts really fast and there are a lot of similarities. Since I did skim I might have missed it, but one difference is that Swain talks about the writing itself and I didn't see that in Butcher's comments. Let me know though if I just missed it. Thanks again for posting it!


message 23: by Alex (new) - rated it 1 star

Alex (asato) M.L. wrote: "I skimmed over Butcher's posts really fast and there are a lot of similarities. Since I did skim I might have missed it, but one difference is that Swain talks about the writing itself and I didn't..."

sorry that i haven't gotten back to the "selling writer". was caught up doing the spreadsheet. i'll get back to it this week, since i'm on vacation.


message 24: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Alex G wrote: "M.L. wrote: "I skimmed over Butcher's posts really fast and there are a lot of similarities. Since I did skim I might have missed it, but one difference is that Swain talks about the writing itself..."

Oh, no worries! :-) I took time away to read 2 books! I'm starting a third so will read this in segments in between.


message 25: by Alex (last edited Aug 10, 2016 05:02PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Alex (asato) M.L. wrote: "I took time away to read 2 books! I'm starting a third so will read this in segments in between. "

since you're going strong, do you want to add a 4th?
Successful Self-Publishing: How to self-publish and market your book in ebook and print
only 81pp. i'm at 20% now and it seems like a quick start guide.

if it meets those expectations,then I'll start on

How To Market A Book

in this book, Penn references authorearnings.com, so i think that she has very solid research backing her up.

and after that, maybe:


message 26: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Alex G wrote: "M.L. wrote: "I took time away to read 2 books! I'm starting a third so will read this in segments in between. "

since you're going strong, do you want to add a 4th?[book:Successful Self-Publishing..."


Sure, I'll add that to the queue! I just started another Tom Clancy so it may be a week or more, but I'm interested in reading Penn's advice.


message 27: by Alex (last edited Aug 10, 2016 11:51PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Alex (asato) M.L. wrote: "Sure, I'll add that to the queue! I just started another Tom Clancy so it may be a week or more, but I'm interested in reading Penn's advice."

done with Successful Self-Publishing: How to self-publish and market your book in ebook and print. thank you so much for finding it! it is gold in 81 pages.

bought How To Market A Book and am keen to start it. (i'll try to read "techniques" at the same time.)


message 28: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Alex G wrote: "M.L. wrote: "Sure, I'll add that to the queue! I just started another Tom Clancy so it may be a week or more, but I'm interested in reading Penn's advice."

done with [book:Successful Self-Publishi..."


That's a great endorsement! I'll definitely have to read it.


message 29: by Alex (last edited Aug 15, 2016 01:06PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Alex (asato) M.L. wrote: "Alex G wrote: "M.L. wrote: "Sure, I'll add that to the queue! I just started another Tom Clancy so it may be a week or more, but I'm interested in reading Penn's advice."

done w/How To Market A Book. the short answer is:
buy it b/c it has a lot of details, ideas, and links to more info.
you can read my brief review, although my status updates on it are more informative.

back to "techniques" and the Butcher Live journal.


message 30: by Alexa (new)

Alexa Whitewolf | 39 comments Hey guys
Just wanted to add 2 other ebooks to what has already been shared. They helped me a lot when I came up with my marketing plan.

Smashwords Book Marketing Guide
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view...

The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view...

They're free and I found them super informative :)


message 31: by Alex (new) - rated it 1 star

Alex (asato) Cool. We should adds them to our writing bookshelf


message 32: by Alex (new) - rated it 1 star

Alex (asato) i'm on p.182 of Techniques of the Selling Writer in which the middle is described. seems like a rehash of scene-sequel. i'm also tired of the sexist examples.

a year or two ago i checked it out from the library and started reading it, but I DNF'd it. now i realize why it is so hard to read. although it does have 2-level outlines here and there, it's paragraph after paragraph w/o any headings, its examples are mixed in w/its imperative statements/directions, and it has a lot of conversational fluff.


message 33: by Alex (new) - rated it 1 star

Alex (asato) M.L. wrote: "I skimmed over Butcher's posts really fast and there are a lot of similarities. Since I did skim I might have missed it, but one difference is that Swain talks about the writing itself and I didn't see that in Butcher's comments. Let me know though if I just missed it. Thanks again for posting it!"

no, Butcher doesn't talk about the mechanics so much, but then again neither does Swain--he talks about avoiding adverbs and such. And, frankly, Strunk and White do a much better job of it.

Really, there are many better books, period. This is the only book that I've ever returned.

i won't belabor my points (I've ranted about it enough in my status updates for this book and in my review.)


message 34: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Alex G wrote: "M.L. wrote: "I skimmed over Butcher's posts really fast and there are a lot of similarities. Since I did skim I might have missed it, but one difference is that Swain talks about the writing itself..."

Oh, I found that Swain does talk about mechanics, that's what interests me, or one of the things. It's almost a back to basics. Strunk and White is good too.

A lot of what resonates depends on the reader. One thing going for Swain is that Pickering, who is kind of the benchmark for indies currently, gave it such a high endorsement. That represents a working model, so to speak.

I'm still at the same place I was a couple weeks back--getting caught up on writing and group reads, independent reads, but I will go back to it.

The sexist comments are eye rollers, for sure, but a couple of recent GR crime club reads have the same type thing and it's almost historical-attitudes of the times, so I disregard those.


message 35: by Alex (new) - rated it 1 star

Alex (asato) M.L. wrote: "Oh, I found that Swain does talk about mechanics, that's what interests me, or one of the things. It's almost a back to basics. Strunk and White is good too."

are you, perhaps, referring to motivation-reaction units: 1) write a sentence w/o your character; (2) follow it w/a sentence about your character's reaction to (1). i did find this valuable.

I'd completely agree w/one of the reviews (by https://www.goodreads.com/author/show...) that stated:
What little useful information is available would be more appropriate in the form of a 100-tips blog post.
M.L. wrote: "One thing going for Swain is that Pickering, who is kind of the benchmark for indies currently, gave it such a high endorsement. That represents a working model, so to speak."

that is one reason why i picked it up again, but after reading this book, i think that, in sum total, Pickering is wrong in that there are better choices (by better, i mean more succinct, clearer, and less laden w/author's world view); and while it is true that the reading experience depends upon the reader, i'd argue that that applies far more often to fiction than in non-fiction how-to treatises.


message 36: by Alex (new) - rated it 1 star

Alex (asato) Alexa wrote: "Hey guys
Just wanted to add 2 other ebooks to what has already been shared. They helped me a lot when I came up with my marketing plan.

Smashwords Book Marketing Guide
https://www.smashwords.com/b..."


thx! i added them to our "resources" spreadsheet.


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