©1995 Sol Stein; (P)2003 Blackstone Audiobooks
I've already listened to this three times, and I will undoubtedly listen to it again. One of four essential writing guides, and the best of the four. In fact, it's the best one I've ever read.
You may also want "Steal this Plot", "The Power of Point of View" and "Writer's Guide to Character Traits". If you are interested in writing in the romance genre, then "How to Write Romances" by Phyllis T. Pianka is also veryworthwhile.
Unfortunately, that's about it as far as actual techniques and discussion of the craft of writing. Everything else I've seen has been a popular discussion for folks who do not write and who are clueless about the publishing process. If you are a writer who wants to learn how to improve your writing with concrete techniques, this is the book for you.
Now that I have listened to this book I will have to buy a hard copy. There was not enough room on my MP3 player for all of the bookmarks. This is a book you will want to dog ear.
I am a big fan of Ayn Rand and happened to read her "Art of Fiction" before reading "Stein on Writing." It is interesting that the books give opposite advice.
Rand advises that the plot is the most important aspect of a novel and must be a purposeful progression of events demonstrating some sort of value. She calls this Romantic writing. Rand advises against Naturalistic writing, of telling a make-believe story with no purpose, because in that case your time would be better spent writing non-fiction.
Stein is firmly in the Naturalistic camp. And, his book contains sections that are insulting to people who enjoy Romantic novels. For example, he puts down all Ian Fleming novels as being written for simplistic people.
I happen to like the writing of Rand and Fleming. I aspire to write something approaching their work in greatness. Therefore, Stein has only provided me with ideas on what not to do.
John Christmas, author of "Democracy Society"
Literary graduate and published columnist turned glorified grease monkey.
Went into a fair amount of detail. Provided great examples. Good little exercises and answers provided to see if you have what it takes. It was a little bit long, but everything in it was relevant. Very insiteful, a must for budding writers who want the edge. Lots of key elements needed for the difference between pulp fiction and quality writing. Very well done. I'm going to try Ayn Rand's "Art of Fiction" next just to get a comparison.
This is not a book that you will say you have heard before. This book is one that you will say you need to hear again.
For any writer, Stein's words will be like gold. I only wish he would speak of grammar.
E.B. Whites, Elements of Style could very well be right next to this (aside from length).
There are hundreds of books on writing, but this book is a stand out. Not only is the author a publisher, playright & successful (fiction) author - but he knows how to break it down for you. In fact, he goes into detail, with excellent examples throughout, that I hadn't even considered. When you're struggling to get going, I've found that to be important. I've been writing non-fiction for years, and have had a book published by Penguin, but I'd like to try fiction. This book has tips for fiction AND non-fiction writers, although it's weighted towards fiction. LOVE the many examples, so you can see (ok, hear, as this is audible!) the WAY it's done.
I scoured Audible in search of what I felt to me would be the most useful book on writing. I examined descriptions, reviews, and more descriptions and reviews, before settling on Stein on Writing. I wasn't convinced I made the right choice...until I listened to it. I feel lucky that this was the book I chose because as a novice writer who craves tips from professionals it has given me a tremendous amount of valuable information.
I compared Sol Stein to Ayn Rand and he comes out on top. I've listened to him several times and keep picking up bits of advice I missed previously. I like how he separates fiction from nonfiction. His examples of other great writers who have been humbled at the beginning of their careers but were smart enough to pay heed to what the experts told them are relevant. You don't need to be brilliant to write brilliantly.
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