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Weinberg on Writing: The Fieldstone Method Paperback – November 1, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0932633651 ISBN-10: 093263365X

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 194 pages
  • Publisher: Dorset House (November 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 093263365X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0932633651
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #518,450 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Don't write your book -- build it with Weinberg's Fieldstone Method. Keep the project moving by breaking the project into easy-to-attack chunks; gather your ideas one at a time. Then stack them as you would stones in a wall."

-- Dan Poynter author of Writing Nonfiction and The Self-Publishing Manual

"From its alliterative title, Weinberg on Writing, to the photographs of fieldstones introducing each chapter, to this recursive metaphor -- that of constructing fieldstones into meaningful patterns: mailbox stands, walls, houses, sculptures, indeed, anything that can be built with fieldstones, this book on 'constructing' writing, so to speak, is a delight. Its author speaks from experience, having written over 40 books thus far; but more than that, he speaks conversationally and convincingly about a way to approach the all-too-often formidable task of writing.

"Weinberg's controlling metaphor for this book on writing -- the Fieldstone -- allows the reader to realize that a single fieldstone is like a single idea; that fieldstones, like ideas, are not 'uniform,' and that, just as fieldstones 'come in varying sizes, colors, textures, shapes, and densities,' and lie everywhere waiting for us to collect and use them to some productive end, so do ideas. Through his 'fieldstone' metaphor, Weinberg richly demonstrates that the human mind is not a straight thinker, but a mind-leaper, thus not 'dependent on any particular order' to succeed in writing a book or article or story. The many photographs weaving their way through the book reinforce the power inherent in a 'fieldstone' when it is used in the construction of a project, becoming dwellings, garden walls, anything useful, just as idea pulled together in coherent fashion tell stories, instruct, clarify.

"Most convincingly, rather than preaching to the reader about how to write, Weinberg shares his 40 years, not only of teaching, but of writing many of his own books and articles. The key to the Fieldstone Method is non-linearity. Thus, Weinberg speaks of such metaphor-enhancing processes as 'gathering' (prospecting for idea-stones), discovering 'anchor stones' (key words), and making piles of unused 'stones' (to jump to another metaphor), 'bits of string too short to use' -- for later construction.

"One of the best lines of Weinberg on Writing, and one every writer should commit to memory is, 'I may run out of ideas, but I'll never run out of new combinations of ideas.' In demystifying the mysterious process of writing through the consistent metaphoric grappling hook of 'fieldstones' as ideas which float in and out of our consciousness, Weinberg has written a wise and warm book on overcoming the perils of trying to write."

-- Gabriele Rico, author of Writing the Natural Way

"Part memoir, part how-to, Weinberg on Writing dispenses with the mysteries and misconceptions of craft and shows any writer how -- and how not to -- hone their skills. Weinberg's method of finding fieldstones with which to build your writing strikes me as one of the more effective metaphors for the writing craft I've ever seen. Weinberg also rightly places the emphasis on writing about what matters to you rather than perpetrating the old saw, 'Write what you know.' Writers of any stripe will go far following Weinberg's method."

-- Jennifer Lawler, author of Dojo Wisdom for Writers

"Jerry Weinberg's lessons in writing are smart, funny, memorable, wise, engaging . . . and, most important, it is all stuff that works, it's practical. What more would you want?"

-- Howard S. Becker, author of Writing for Social Scientists

"I suppose the strongest praise of a how-to writing book would be to say it's changed the way I intend to organize and write my next book. And it's true! I'm now beginning to gather information and think about the structure of my next project, and I'm going to adopt Jerry's Fieldstone Method. I think Jerry has made my writing life easier. This book is a gift to writers at all levels from a true pro with sterling credentials."

-- Penny Raife Durant award-winning author of nine children's books, including When Heroes Die and Sniffles, Sneezes, Hiccups and Coughs

"Weinberg on Writing is a strange little gem: part writer's guide, part personal philosophy, and part autobiography. As such, it has something to offer for writers of non-fiction and fiction alike -- and would also be a good read for anyone who has ever wondered where writers get their ideas."

-- Jane Lindskold author of The Firekeeper Saga

"it wasn't until I participated in one of Jerry Weinberg's writing workshops that I was able to take my writing to the next level. . . .

"I'm proof these techniques work. I've published three books, over 100 articles, and am working on my next few books. Next few books, you ask? Yes. One of the techniques Jerry suggests is that you have many fieldstones, chunks of work in progress. In progress may mean you've written two words. It may mean you've written several chapter-like things. It may mean you've written 50 words. Fieldstones allow you to make progress on any piece of work, which can allow you to finish more writing projects than you could imagine.

"If you want to start your writing career, or if you want to write better, or if you want to revitalize your writing, buy this book. "

-- Johanna Rothman consultant and author of Hiring the Best Knowledge Workers, Techies & Nerds


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Customer Reviews

As a writer, I was very excited about the prospect of learning from Weinberg himself his thoughts on the writing process.
Randy Rice
If you want to start your writing career, or if you want to write better, or if you want to revitalize your writing, buy this book.
Johanna Rothman
This book includes various impressive metaphors, for example, Fieldstone, therefor, it is very readable and easy to understand it.
Yu Ise

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Johanna Rothman on January 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
I've been working on improving my writing for about 20 years. When I was inside organizations, I asked some of my colleagues to review my memos and reports. I gained valuable insights. ("A verb, JR, a verb. Please.") But once I started my consulting business 11 years ago, I needed more help with my writing. My early reviewers gave me useful and helpful feedback. But it wasn't until I took Jerry Weinberg's writing workshop that I was able to take my writing to the next level.

If you want to take a writing workshop but don't feel you have the time or the money to spend a week at a workshop, buy this book. Work through the exercises--yes, all of them. Listen to Jerry's advice, such as "Never attempt to write something you don't care about" or "Writer's block is not a disorder in you, the writer. It's a deficiency in your writing methods--the mythology you've swallowed about how works get written."

I'm proof these techniques work. I've published three books, over 100 articles, and am working on my next few books. One of the techniques Jerry suggests is that you have many fieldstones, chunks of work in progress. In progress may mean you've written two words. It may mean you've written several chapter-like things. It may mean you've written 50 words. Fieldstones allow you to make progress on any piece of work, which can allow you to finish more writing projects than you could imagine.

If you want to start your writing career, or if you want to write better, or if you want to revitalize your writing, buy this book.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Leo H. on January 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
Two friends and I argued over the pains of writing while watching a magnificent sunset over the Pacific in Ocean Beach, San Diego.

"My writing is too short and to the point," Patrick said. "I should strive for bigger pieces".

"Bigger and not to the point?" Eileen asked smirking. I chuckled, then felt guilty.

"More like I want to pull in and engage the reader, be less concerned about brevity," Patrick answered.

"But every word SHOULD count," Eileen said.

This debate of "enriched" vs. "concise" writing seized me emotionally. I pulled a yellow 3x5 card and jotted down quickly the essence of what was said.

"What are you doing?" Eileen asked.

"This dialogue is funny. Its theme resonates with me a lot. I'm capturing it as a fieldstone."

"Fieldstone?"

"I read this book by Gerald Weinberg," I replied, "in which he described convincingly how efficient it is to gather fieldstones throughout life (snippets of anything that carry energy for you) and later use them as needed in your writing."

"Though I do notice fieldstones, I never remember them later," Patrick complained, even as I was capturing that interaction--admittedly the first time ever I had prepared for such event.

"Weinberg addresses that with the 5-second rule." I proceeded to reveal a handful of Weinberg's secrets. Both friends were now focused on me, not the sunset. Their inquisitiveness fueled the energy I felt about the fieldstone.

At that time, I had no idea how I would use that dialogue until four days later I decided to write a review on Weinberg's book. I decided to use that very fieldstone to capture the reader's attention regarding fieldstones.

Did it work?
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Cadena on January 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
"Weinberg on Writing - The Fieldstone Metho"d is a marvelous handbook that will be immensely beneficial to anyone desiring to be a successful writer.

A popular belief about gifted artists is how easily their art comes to them. In the preface of the "First Folio" of Shakespeare's plays, the publishers Heminge and Cordell write: "His mind and hand went together: And what he thought, he uttered with that easiness, that we have scarce received from him a blot in his papers."

For lesser mortals, however, assistance in improving our artistic craft is a true godsend. Gerald Weinberg, an accomplished author, takes time in "Weinberg on Writing" to explore with us in detail the method underlying his own processes. In so doing, he provides a welcomed service, presenting us with a cogent set of techniques, exercises, examples and advice to aid us in our writing.

"The Fieldstone Method" rests on a powerfully apt analogy, the creation of sound stone-wall structures. It takes energy and time to build a stone wall, and it takes energy and time to write. "The Fieldstone Method" shows us how the process of harnessing ideas and words into a written work is like building a stone wall: gathering, arranging, rearranging, and discarding stones as the wall evolves organically over time. Its most remarkable feature is how it helps writers keep personal energy high, efforts focused and the daunting work of composition forward-moving.

When I read about any methodology, I ask myself how well it meets certain qualities. Is the method probable? Is it possible? Practical? Plastic? Psychologically sound? For "The Fieldstone Method," the answer in each case is emphatically "Yes.
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