©1995 Sol Stein; (P)2003 Blackstone Audiobooks
Unlike other "...those who can't, teach" books on writing, Stein's book is packed with useful, tangible information that can help just about any writer. This book is primarily geared towards fiction writers, but non-fiction writers will benefit as well. (And as Stein points out, non-fiction writers that don't have a novel stashed away some place are few and far between.) Stein explains how text looks from a editor's/publisher's point of view and in my opinion, he explains why a lot of "good" writing doesn't sell.
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.
Three favorite authors, from three different continents and three different races: Stefan Zweig, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Chinua Achebe.
Get this audiobook if you're intereted in improving your writing skills.
How he shows the right and wrong way to approach things
On Writing Well, because it helps a writer to improve his or her voice.
How to create proper suspense and tension.
Every writer should have this book!
The book provides good strategies and skills to any writer, fiction and non-fiction alike. It will guide you how to avoid common pitfalls, how to improve the text, remove clatter, etc. The downside is that he has a lot of emphasize on fiction writers, for instance, a whole chapter on love scenes, drama, etc. But non fiction writer also gain insights, and will find some parts exciting and helpful.
The important advantage is that Sol Stein in (was?) an editor, and he teaches from an editor's perceptive. It does not help that you and your relatives find the manuscript you write interesting, or exciting if an editor does not, because you will not publish it. Adopting his point of view will not only help you get your book published, but also make it better in any possible way, from title to content, to first page.
Sol Stein knows writing. As editor for some of the best authors of the latter 20th century, he's seen first-hand what can make or break a manuscript. From drafting through revision, from building character to making dialogue sing, he touches on all those aspects of fiction and non-fiction that distinguish memorable works from merely transitory ones.
I return to Stein on Writing whenever I'm suffering from stagnation or writer's block, whenever I'm getting ready to revise a manuscript, or whenever I just need some inspiration to keep me going as a writer. And as a high school creative writing teacher, this is the main text I teach from, and the only one I require my students to buy.
Over the years I've written thousands of words, published a few books, and read dozens of books and articles on writing. Stephen King's On Writing, John Gardner's The Art of Fiction, and Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird are all fantastic resources. But for my money, Stein on Writing is one of the best single sources for the working prose writer.
This recording is well-done. It's easy to imagine that Sol Stein himself is imparting his lessons vocally. Despite a few odd pronunciations and occasional chapters where the narrator's energy drags a bit, the book as a whole is still eminently listenable. I listen to it in conjunction with reading and annotating my paperback copy.
In short, if you're a writer (or want to become one), I highly recommend reading and listening to Stein on Writing. It's well worth your time.
As I listen and apply I find that I am continually refreshed in not only my thirst for writing but my ability as a craftsman.
Look no further. This book will change your writing life.
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