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Publisher's Summary

Stein on Writing provides immediately useful advice for writers of fiction and nonfiction, whether newcomers or accomplished professionals. As Sol Stein, renowned editor, author, and instructor, explains, "This is not a book of theory. It is a book of usable solutions, how to fix writing that is flawed, how to improve writing that is good, how to create interesting writing in the first place." With examples from his best sellers as well as aspiring students' writing, Stein offers detailed sections on characterization, dialogue, pacing, flashbacks, liposuctioning flab, the "triage" method of revision, using the techniques of fiction to enliven nonfiction, and more.
©1995 Sol Stein; (P)2003 Blackstone Audiobooks

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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  • Overall

Genuinely inspiring

Sol Stein (whose editorial credentials are impeccable) brings to this guide to writing are real humility in the face of the authors with whom he has worked, and a real understanding of the dynamics of creating characters, developing plot and fleshing out themes and ideas. He manages to be precise without being pedantic, structured without ever being formulaic. For the novice writer, his insights, ideas and principles are invaluable

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Ted
  • Lancaster, PA, United States
  • 06-02-15

Stein On Communicating: Resonantly

On our keyboards there are nubs on the f and j keys. Tiny finger grabbers to keep me from typing coded gibberish. Feel them for a moment. No… I mean you. Remember them under the pads of your fingers? Now, close your eyes and twirl them around in your mind. Their fact becomes your feeling. And that's what reading "Stein on Writing" is about.

About the craft of… Well he writes that after his or her work is released into the wild, the artist is dispensable. Feeling and fact, are all that swirl around then, like vapors which audiences inhale into their thought and emotional selves. Or they don't because the artist doesn't know how to make that happen either well… Or at all.

So Sol Stein teaches how to be a writer… And more importantly, how to be an audience. Does he do it well? Well enough that I've listened to "Stein on Writing" twice and I've ordered the book itself to mark up, scribble into, highlight, and dog-ear. So that next time I feel those tiny nubs actually under my pointy-fingers… I'll better make the keypad make me but not my writing… dispensable.

Christopher Lee's perfect.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Amazing. Amazing. Amazing.

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.

Ever.

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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • David
  • Las Cruces, NM United States
  • 04-04-09

Must Have

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.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great! I'm not even a writer and I love this

I'm not even a writer and I love this book. He reads passages to illustrate writing priciples.

18 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A Must for All Writers for All Genres

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.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • JDOE
  • Fort Wayne, IN
  • 04-23-16

Wonderful overview of writing from one the best!

This book is a must-listen for any writer that doesn't already know everything- pretty much everyone!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Sol Stein: Master of His Craft

This has been the best book on craft that I have come across in the vast genre of fiction craft books...IMO, it is better than any James Scott Bell &/or any other more contemporary writing book I've read.

Straightforward, easily absorbed, perfect depth of information & examples to illustrate concepts.

Read any Sol Stein book and you will see he is the best kind of teacher--he exemplifies in his writing what he teaches.

He seems to have mastered EVERY aspect of the business of writing.

Narration was perfect for the informative tone of the book

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A must for anyone serious about his craft

As a beginner who's always loved the written word I'm stoked and ready to get busy smithing my own prose, would recommend to any enthusiast.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great guidebook

Any additional comments?

One of the most important principles of good writing is "show, don't tell," but it can be hard to understand exactly what that means. This book is worth reading for his careful explanation of that distinction alone. The rest is gravy.

Of course, some of the rules offered need to be taken as suggestions. Hilariously, he says no book called Twilight could succeed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • sin sin minkin
  • 12-14-16

Great advice, grating narration

The advice is detailed and concise. If you can get by the wood file voice, you'll enjoy some learning.

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  • Jim McCrory
  • 03-27-16

Everything a writer needs.

Would you consider the audio edition of Stein on Writing to be better than the print version?

I have not read the print version

Who was your favorite character and why?

There are no characters; it is not a novel.

What does Christopher Lane bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

The reading was very pleasant.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No

Any additional comments?

This book has all the advice a writer needs. I got in the habit of listening to one chapter at a time, writing down notes and applying the advice.

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  • ETSMOM
  • 03-27-16

Very useful.

I found this book very useful, with lots of things I had never thought about. Great examples too.

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  • Nigel
  • 01-28-15

Extremely useful

Addresses every aspect of writing with a structured and practical manner. Sol Stein writes with insight derived from his personal experience as a successful writer, editor and publisher. The narrator is a little dry at times, but the writing has clarity and humour.

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  • James
  • 06-22-14

Great book with loads for tips

This book is easy to understand and will help the reader to engage with their readers.