- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1st edition (January 25, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312254210
- ISBN-13: 978-0312254216
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 241 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Stein On Writing: A Master Editor of Some of the Most Successful Writers of Our Century Shares His Craft Techniques and Strategies 1st Edition
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"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
From Publishers Weekly
In this stimulating guide, a veteran novelist (The Magician), editor (Stein & Day) and teacher offers a banquet of savvy advice. Unlike Anne Lamott et al., Stein aims not to help his readers wrestle with writerly anguish; rather, he gets on the page, citing examples from writers famous and fledgling, closely analyzing first sentences, creation of character, plotting and dialogue (use "speech markers" to differentiate among characters). Stein concentrates more on fiction?point of view and the creation of love scenes?but his advice on such issues as self-editing and choosing a title applies also to nonfiction. A section on nonfiction contains worthy remarks about adapting fictional techniques (suspense, visual particularity, etc.) but is too brief to be a full guide to journalistic writing or producing an account of a historic event.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Sol also talks about writing non-fiction. Where I can see the relevance, as a scientific and technical writer for over 3 decades, this book is basically useless in that arena.
I'm also a little disappointed that Sol let his literary snobbery show through. I find nothing wrong with commercial fiction. I enjoy reading both types for what they are.
None the less, there is a lot of material here that I can use and his insights into revisions I think are golden.