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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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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Raw writing advice. Listened twice already.

A lifetime of teaching and writing bleeds out of each chapter. Stein makes you see the world like a writer, bursting with evocation.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

So good I'm listening again

Excellent information, clearly presented. This not only helped me improve what I have already written but also sparked new ideas to keep me writing new material. I'm going to listen again right now.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Best book on writing ever. Lots of examples.

Where does Stein on Writing rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is, by far, the best book on writing advice I have read. First of all it's so enjoyable and interesting to read that you can't put it down. Second, Sol gives lots of real examples: (e.g. "Here is one example, now here's a better way to word this.")

What other book might you compare Stein on Writing to and why?

Stephen King, "On Writing," is probably my next favorite, but Sol Stein has much more actual writing examples than King and is much more thorough.

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

Oh, Christopher Lane is incredible. His voice is pleasant to listen to and gives the perfect emotion to the book so that you never start to "zone out." He also did "The Best Revenge" for Stein which I'm reading now. He is slightly more animated for this work on fiction and also wonderful.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

It's hard to pick just one. I loved the section on how he explained that he used to be part of a small theater where the director used to purposely give each actor a different script, and then turn them lose on the stage to cause confusion. And he said you should do this in your writing, because in real life we all have "different scripts."

Any additional comments?

If you could only chose one book on writing to read, it should be this one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • erik
  • Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 01-31-12

Completely changed my perspective on writing.

Im 40 now, and have not done much writing outside of highschool and college assignments. And I admit, if it were not for audiobooks, I would have no connection with books. But that said, I do enjoy a good story, and Ive started to dabble a bit in writing, and thought Id give this book a try, as Im ready and eager to learn more.

What I expected was a dry 'technical manual' on where to put punctuation, and what pro-nouns were and all that. What I got was a wonderfully rich exposure to what the purpose of a writer really is (to manipulate the readers experience), how to flesh out and define your characters and to understand various methods to revising and rewriting your work. All of this backed up by solid examples that show how authors (some bestsellers) have succeeded or fallen short of these ideas. And I found it fascinating.

This book has changed my appreciation for all that an author does, and all the responsibilities I must live up to when I write. And these lessons I will also apply in my artwork, comic books, and other story telling forms.

Again, I thought it it was going to be painfully slow and bland. Yet I found every chapter to be an insight on fresh ways to look at my writing/storytelling. And for me, it was fantastic and I only wish I was aware of these concepts earlier in life, as they are that profound.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

WRITING


Stein???s book is a writer???s road map. Writers see the highways and streets of writing a good story. Stein???s map reveals where a story begins, which roads to follow, and where a story ends. He explains how to write actionably. Do not write ???he was upset???, write, ???He threw an ash tray through the living room window, sprinkling shards of glass across a brown patch of grass???. The first line is vague. It is telling the reader that the character is upset. The second line shows action. It makes the reader decide on the character???s mood. A good writer is emoting readers to feel character emotion. He does not tell the reader what to think. On Stein???s map, this is the beginning of good story telling.

Stein offers more and says it better.
This is a book for the reference shelf; to be read; to be listened to; again and again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

outstanding

Even if you never intend to write a book, you will read books differently from understanding the process. Stein is a literary genius.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ron
  • Sydney, Australia
  • 07-19-09

yep, really good

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

No Small Thing

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).

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kirk
  • Turner, ME, USA
  • 12-11-07

This one will stay on the ipod for a long time

I have listened to this book twice over now and will continue to listen to it for a long time to come.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Charlie
  • Lethbridge, AB, Canada
  • 01-01-07

Worth It

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful