I have recently re-read Dwight Swain's 'Techniques of the Selling Writer'. Using his idea of motivation-reaction units, I decided to see if a book I have just finished used this concept at all. I realise most authors don't stick rigidly to this pattern, but I find it useful to look analytically at structure from time to time. I have tried to break up this excerpt into what I think should be M-R units, but I would be interested to hear what others have to say. My comments are bolded/italicised in brackets. 'Following the dawn prayer, with clouds of darkness defying the vigorous thrust of light, the vizier Dandan was called to a meeting with the sultan Shahriyar. [Motivation: Dandan called to meeting]. Dandan's composure vanished. The heart of a father quaked within him as, putting on his clothes, he mumbled, "Now the outcome will be resolved—your fate, Shahrzad." [Reaction: composure vanished, he mumbled...] 'He went by the road that led up to the mountain on an old jade, followed by a troop of guards; preceding them was a man bearing a torch, in weather that radiated dew and a gentle chilliness. (Three years he had spent between fear and hope, between death and expectation; three years spent telling stories; and thanks to those stories, Shahrzad's life span had been extended. This section sounds like a summary, so I'm not sure if it can be counted as M or R?) Yet, like everything, the stories had come to an end, had ended yesterday. So what fate was lying in wait for you, O beloved daughter of mine?' [Motivation? Possibly as the question contains an implicit motivation?] 'He entered the palace that perched on top of the mountain. The chamberlain led him to a rear balcony that overlooked a vast garden. Shahriyar was sitting in the light shed by a single lamp, bare-headed, his hair luxuriantly black, his eyes gleaming in his long face, his large beard spreading across the top of his chest. [Motivation: Shahriyar appears—what feelings does he cause?] Dandan kissed the ground before him, feeling, despite their long association, an inner fear for a man whose history had been filled with harshness, cruelty, and the spilling of innocent blood. [Reaction: Kissing ground, fear]' Scene Summary: M: Dandan called to meeting. R: Discomposure. Summary/Flashback: M: Entering palace, Shahrzad appears. R: Kisses ground and fears. It seems that the author (Naguib Mahfouz) has only loosely applied the M-R Unit concept, as the first page includes summary and a few past-perfects (she/he had done...) which D. Swain warns against. Any comments/thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks!