Swain's book is good stuff. He breaks down a lot of the pieces that make up a novel, and alerted me to things I'd never thought of before. I'd like to list them, but there are too many (ok, here are some; character drives, beginning help, ending ideas, an unhappy Unconscious and so forth).
I should have brought sticky tabs with me to work so I could have marked all those spots. No matter, I don't have to return this book until December so I can have until then to skim some of these ideas again and get them more firmly lodged into my brain. I liked how he not only included writing methods and items to look at, but also preparation for writing, locations to write, and so on. I've read some writing books before, and none of them really put it as well as Swain does. He mentions that if you have a window, you're likely to stare out at the world beyond it and forget about writing.
....Ok, this is in no way a joke, but I have a window practically in front of me, and I was just staring out of it. Yikes. Then again, I am running on very little sleep so...
Another thing he mentioned that I thought was absolutely fantastic and I've never read in any other writing book: Get out and exercise! Do you know how good of an idea this is? I mean, just a nice walk around the block can help clear your brain. I go with my mom to the grocery store - I just did yesterday, in fact, in order to keep my brain from completely melting. Of course, I end up with a container of Chips Ahoy Cookies beside my desk, but you get the idea. Anyway, I thought it was great he mentioned that and I think a lot of writers would benefit from it. Otherwise, what? We'll all get slobby in front of our computer screens (or in my case, a notebook). Haha. Ok, maybe not necessarily, but do you know how many ideas and scenarios I've gone over in my brain while running on the treadmill to some good music? I once read that most writers get their ideas in the shower. ...Shower? I have never once had an idea in a shower. I've even considered this information and made a point to think about my stories in the shower, but I inevitably start thinking of something else totally unrelated. And hey, if you do get ideas in the shower, then you can hop in after you get a bit of exercise and have a double think session.
Of course, unless you live in a world during 1984, then doublethink is a bad thing...but that will have to wait until another blog entry!