Stein on Writing

Stein on Writing, written by Sol Stein

Published by St. Martin Griffin in 1995


IMG_1602Stein on Writing is perhaps THE book on professional writing. I suppose it’s been reviewed or summarized millions of times – and that is not just a literary cliché. At every writers conference I attend some speaker(s) refer to it.

For me it is a book I’ll read again and again, and refer to in-between reads.

The subtitle sums it up: A Master Editor of Some of the Most Successful Writers of Our Centry Shares His Craft Techniques and Strategies.

Stein on Writing is comprehensive. It covers or touches on every possible aspect of writing literary works for publication, I believe. It’s seven sections are:

  •       The Essentials
  •       Fiction
  •       Fiction and Nonfiction
  •       Nonfiction
  •       Literary Values in Fiction and Nonfiction
  •       Revision
  •       Where to Get Help


Stein on Writing is detailed. I read this book about four years into writing for publication. Much of it went over my head at that time. But, even those sections became trigger points for me. When I would be reading a book on a particular aspect of writing, or participating in a workshop the “new” things I was learning would jump back to my memory of reading about it in Stein on Writing.

Does that make sense?

I am re-reading the book at this time and it is proving to be even more instructive, more valuable to me now than the first time through. I now have quite a bit more experience and Stein’s advice makes a lot more sense to me now.

Stein on Writing is foundational. It seems to me that Stein touches on everything we should be aware of when writing for publication.

Stein on Writing is practical. Tips, shortcuts and practical examples of good writing fill the pages. This is information I can put to use in my own manuscripts.

The chapter titled, “Liposuctioning Flab” probably stuck with me best. It’s on cutting every word that isn’t critical to the story. It’s becoming something I do well.

If you can purchase only one book about the craft of writing THIS is the one. Even if you only write little picture books for kids, like me.


One Comment on “Stein on Writing

  1. Thanks for the endorsement. Believe it or not, this is one I have not read. I may purchase a copy thanks to your review. Happy writing, dear Jean.

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