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How to Grow a Novel: The Most Common Mistakes Writers Make and How to Overcome Them Paperback – March 20, 2002
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The final section of the book is devoted to the responsibilities of the publisher. Any but the most stalwart writer can't help but be disheartened by the book business. It has often been said that a publisher determines a book's fate--barring a miracle--long before it is even released, by the funds allocated to publicize it. Stein takes this one step further, positing that a book's positioning is determined "when the agent submits it for consideration.... There are reportedly nearly a thousand literary agents in North American alone, but fewer than a dozen have clout."
Still, take heart, and try to enjoy the process. "Writing is the second most exciting activity a higher power invented for human beings," says Stein. "And when you get to your eighties, it's the first most exciting activity." --Jane Steinberg --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
-Angela M. Weiler, SUNY Libs., Morrisville
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book starts off slow, and even when you get to the chapter on editing, it's more about what a great editor he is. For instance, Stein writes that he told an author to take out "self-conscious asides," "adjectives that needed deletion," "melodrama," and "author intrusions," which is all great, but he doesn't give examples of any of them. It's like telling someone to take out the bad fuses without showing what they look like or how it all looks after.
Again, he writes, "The early part of the book contained a lot of unnecessary words that softened the pace. When they were later removed, the pace quickened." Great. But again, no examples of what these words were or how to find them in our own writing.
Instead, it's all "I suggested," "I pointed out," and "I recommended," all showing how smart he is and leaving us with nothing. He even says, "'Sprinting' had to be replaced by a more accurate word," and doesn't even tell us what it was.
Truth is, one thing this book could've used is editing. "First, let's understand what `voice' means. The term is defined in the glossary at the back of this book. Let me spare you the trouble of leaving this page by repeating the definition here." If he wanted to spare us, he'd cut all of that and start at the next line: "The author's voice is..."
In another part he says, "You may recall my formula: one plus one equals a half.Read more ›
In HOW TO GROW A NOVEL, Stein presents some illuminating information for the fiction author. He intends to "write a book in which I could deal with the most important recurrent problems in the same depth as I would in an extended meeting with an individual author." And so he does.
The book is divided into two sections: The Responsibilities of the Writer and The Responsibilities of the Publisher. The appendix has two additional sections under the label of Practical Matters: The Little Things that Damage the Writer's Authority (on the use of dialect, on binding manuscript pages, for example, and how long your book should be) and Where Writers Get Help (in this chapter he promotes his own books and computer programs, but he does mention others).
In Responsibilities of the Writer, Stein says that the reader of fiction is looking for "an experience different from his or her everyday experiences in life." It's not that the reader doesn't welcome insight and information, but it's the experience of the story that keeps him or her glued to the page. Stein's objective "is to help novelists perfect their skill in making the reader turn pages, to forget that he is reading, to live among characters that once resided only in the writer's head and now seem true and memorable to strangers.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good information, and well worth the money. Mr. Stein's examples used to illustrate his points are somewhat wordy, and too many. One or two would suffice. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Larry Richardson
This is a must read for every writer and my 2nd copy as I couldn't find my original copy. There are a few books writers must have and this is one of the big ones. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Annaliese R. Dell
This is a great book for anyone who wants to learn more about the craft of writing. Christie Craig recommended this book to a group of writers in New York this past July. Read morePublished 3 months ago by IpadPeggy
I learned more about novel writing from reading this book than most other books on writing combined. This is right up there with On Writing by Stephen King. Read morePublished 5 months ago by StevenP
Sol Stein is an editor's editor. His pointers are excellent and can help rookie authors avoid making common mistakes. For that matter, he can help seasoned authors as well. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Excellent book! Stein knows his stuff. His writing style is easy, entertaining, and informative.Published 11 months ago by J. L Shafer
Anyone who, like S.S., says first person strengthens credibility simply does not know how to read.Published 14 months ago by Frank A. Green
Extremely good book, well worth any purchase price. Hardcopy is recommended for easy access to info and margin notes. Mr. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Tony
When a large percentage of students in your writing class are female it is not acceptable to refer to all students as "he".Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer