Sol Stein likens the reader of fiction to a baseball fan. The "tension, suspense, anxiety, and pleasure" a spectator experiences are "all the things readers hope for when they turn to a novel." In How to Grow a Novel, Stein coaches fiction writers in providing exactly those things for readers. First off, says Stein, you must write what you read; don't try to pull off a romance novel if you are a student of serious literature, or a literary masterpiece if you thrive on thrillers. With that in mind, Stein gears his book toward both "those who are trying to write a good book and those who are trying to write a good read." Most of How to Grow a Novel delineates what Stein considers to be a writer's obligations to his readers. A writer, he says, should be "amusing, entertaining, interesting," should create characters with character, and should maintain interest primarily by "never tak[ing] the reader where the reader wants to go." Stein illustrates his points with examples from his own experiences as a novelist and as a fiction editor.
The final section of the book is devoted to the responsibilities of the publisher. Any but the most stalwart writer can't help but be disheartened by the book business. It has often been said that a publisher determines a book's fate--barring a miracle--long before it is even released, by the funds allocated to publicize it. Stein takes this one step further, positing that a book's positioning is determined "when the agent submits it for consideration.... There are reportedly nearly a thousand literary agents in North American alone, but fewer than a dozen have clout."
Still, take heart, and try to enjoy the process. "Writing is the second most exciting activity a higher power invented for human beings," says Stein. "And when you get to your eighties, it's the first most exciting activity." --Jane Steinberg --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Come sit. We need to talk." With this simple invitation, novelist, editor, and writing instructor Stein invites the reader to listen as he shares what he has learned from his extensive experience in the fields of writing and publishing. This book, his second (following Stein on Writing), stands apart from the wide field of instructional writing books by putting the writer's focus on the reader. Stein states bluntly right from the beginning that "liars say they write only for themselves" and that a "lack of courtesy" toward the reader is one of the chief faults of unsuccessful writing. While this is perhaps a controversial notion, prospective writers will nonetheless be well rewarded by reading this collection of tips, methods, and numerous anecdotes. In this delightful instruction session, Stein proves once again that he is still a vibrant and talented force in the writing and publishing professions. Highly recommended for libraries supporting fiction writers or fiction writing instruction.
-Angela M. Weiler, SUNY Libs., Morrisville
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Great information contained here for BOTH fiction writers AND non-fiction writers. Practical help, with examples, etc. Highly recommend this to others.Published 24 months ago by opinions4u
I tried to read this before writing anything and I didn't get much out of it. "Immediate Fiction" was a help with my lack of self confidence. Read morePublished on March 2 2004 by Loretta Matson
He references his other book quite a bit. Keep in mind that you really need both of his books on writing. Still cheap for what you get!Published on Dec 4 2003 by Joseph I. Sack
There was a good bit of useful information here, and more than a few helpful hints. Perhaps I simply expected too much, but I can only say that I do not feel significantly more... Read morePublished on Sept. 29 2003 by James Yanni
It's hard to believe that a single book could be so helpful. Don't start a novel without it!Published on May 9 2003 by Dr. Cathy Goodwin
I gave it 4 stars, because there was nothing new in there, but what there was hits 90% of what makes amateur writing bad. Read morePublished on Oct. 31 2002 by E. Richards
Sol Stein is a gentleman of many hats. Wearing his writing hat, he has published bestselling novels like THE HUSBAND and THE MAGICIAN and OTHER PEOPLE as well as books and computer... Read morePublished on July 21 2002 by Sunnye Tiedemann