Perhaps no book has influenced writing gurus and writers like Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain. The University of Oklahoma, where Swain taught and released his books, states, "This is the book for writers who want to turn rejection slips into cashable checks."
Techniques of the Selling Writer provides solid instruction for people who want to write and sell fiction, not just to talk and study about it. It gives the background, insights, and specific procedures needed by all beginning writers. Here one can learn how to group words into copy that moves, movement into scenes, and scenes into stories; how to develop characters, how to revise and polish, and finally, how to sell the product. ―University of Oklahoma Press (publisher of Swain's most famous books)
Nobody considers the University of Oklahoma the center of the literary universe, but it is worth noting it produced perhaps the two best writing instructors in history, Dwight Swain and his protege Jack Bickham. I mention Dr. Bickham because some of Swain's greatest work was grooming the next generation of writing instructors, with Bickham the one who dared to walk in the master's footsteps. I attended the University of Oklahoma, and studied under Dr. Bickham, so it is difficult for me to mention one man without the other.
The University of Oklahoma has produced Heisman Trophy winners and won national championships, but exceeding all were two men in the English Department. Dwight Swain and Jack Bickham remain the University of Oklahoma's two greatest accomplishments. While neither are well-known outside literary circles, both men continue to influence the world far greater than the more prominent sports program can accomplish.
Dwight Swain was born in 1915 and accomplished most his work before the computer age. Both he and his protege embraced typewriters like divers oxygen tanks. Swain was an author, screenwriter, professor, and wrote hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. He knew writing inside and out, and part of his great legacy was leaving behind great work like Techniques of the Selling Writer, released in 1974 by the University of Oklahoma press.
Techniques for the Selling Writer is the greatest writing book ever because it influenced every worthy one to follow. The book introduced caused and effect, and other writing techniques the best writers practice.
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