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Stein on writing : a master editor of some…

Stein on writing : a master editor of some of the most successful writers… (1995)

by Sol Stein

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467922,172 (4.02)1
  1. 10
    The Art of the Novel by Milan Kundera (JuliaMaria)
  2. 10
    Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction by Patricia Highsmith (JuliaMaria)
  3. 00
    The Writing Life by Annie Dillard (mcgilh)
    mcgilh: I use this book over and over again in my writing. It is a wonderful master writing class, chapter by chapter.

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Writing books can be like diet books all promising to make you reach your potential using there own special 5 techniques.
THis book, is thankfully, a very good reference book that will prove helpful for those already on their journey and looking to tighten up and add strength to their writing.
For those just starting out, it might feel overwhelming and a little disheartening. There are no magic bullets to be found herein. Just good solid advice in critiquing and improving your writing. ( )
  StaticBlaq | Apr 26, 2015 |
I have a lot of books on how to write. Many of them sit on the shelf and beg me, beseechingly, to open their covers, give them some sense of purpose. Often when I listen to them, I am disappointed by their contents.
This is one such book. Sol Stein may be a "master editor" but my golly I get tired of his name dropping and self-aggrandizement! This book has less advice than self-praise and for this reason I am tossing it to the giveaway bin.
Much better to read Frey's "How to Write a damn good novel" series or, practically any other text. Or just write and READ a lot of the genre you love.
THat said, some tidbits exist. But not nearly enough to leave this book taking up space on my bookshelf any longer. ( )
  Dabble58 | Jan 1, 2014 |
Not perfect, and perhaps not as inspirational as Stephen King, but very insightful into the ways to make your work achieve a higher level of craftsmanship.

Stein writes and edits Literary Novels. He defines this as that better class of writing (he may not define it exactly but you pick up on it as you read the book). So not the work of Stephen King.

That part of writing that perhaps is a tenth of what is read in the fiction world. So if you write that and follow these guidelines, you will no doubt become better at your craft. The rest of the writing world will probably be able to glean something of use as well. The commercial writers as he calls the many who fill the shelves with books.

That I think is ultimately what is wrong with this guide. It has condescension in it. And it does not strive to help the commercial writer as much as it does the literary writer. The writer who is angst ridden at every word placement in every sentence will love this book for it validates that caring. The writers who are the next John Grisham will find themselves thinking that the man is very wordy trying to get to a point.

That with all the verbage he spends on showing the way for next classic american novel, he missed the point, but he does remember to plug his software which in this day and age remains very pricey. (Can't review that, but I expect it would only delay your novel being ready by half a dozen drafts)

Read this for the concepts. See what to apply in your stories (For me I liked several chapters which would be 5 stars such as advice on conflict in each chapter. Dragging out the story for suspense purposes.) But there are many that if you do not have plans to be a literary novelist, you need not agonize over. ( )
  DWWilkin | May 25, 2013 |
A must have for every writer to have in his/her working library. ( )
  AggieCowboy | Apr 3, 2013 |
Audiobook. Pretty good book even though the narrator at one point says "mis-cheev-i-ous." Takes a little getting used to the the author's authoritative tone, but contains somewhat more advanced analysis and instruction than many of the other writing books I have read. ( )
  malrubius | Apr 2, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312254210, Paperback)

"The best reading experiences," says Sol Stein, "defy interruption." With Stein's assistance, you can grab your reader on page 1 and not let go until "The End." Stein--author of nine novels (including the bestselling The Magician) and editor to James Baldwin, W.H. Auden, and Lionel Trilling--offers "usable solutions" for any writing problem you may encounter. He is authoritative and commanding--neither cheerleader nor naysayer. Instead, he rails against mediocrity and demands that you expunge it from your work. Perhaps the concept of scrutinizing every modifier, every metaphor, every character trait sounds like drudgery. But with Stein's lively guidance, it is a pleasure. Stein recommends that you brew conflict in your prose by giving your characters different "scripts." He challenges you, in an exercise concerning voice, to write the sentence you want the world to remember you by. He uses an excerpt from E.L. Doctorow to demonstrate poorly written monologue and a series of Taster's Choice commercials as an example of dialogue that works. Stein's bottom line is that good writing must be suspenseful. Your job, says Stein, "is to give readers stress, strain, and pressure. The fact is that readers who hate those things in life love them in fiction." --Jane Steinberg

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:10 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The master editor of some of the most successful writers of our century shares his craft techniques and strategies, including how to fix writing that is flawed, how to improve writing that is good, and how to create interesting writing in the first place.… (more)

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