How to Grow a Novel: The Most Common Mistakes Writers Make and How to Overcome Them

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Macmillan, Mar 20, 2002 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 256 pages

Each year thousands of fiction writers, from beginners to bestselling author, benefit from Sol Stein's sold-out workshops, featured appearances at writers' conferences, software for writers, on-line columns, and his popular first book for writers, Stein on Writing. Stein practices what he teaches: He is the author of nine novels, including the million-copy bestseller The Magician, as well as editor of such major writers as James Baldwin, Jack Higgins, Elia Kazan, Budd Schulberg, W. H. Auden, and Jacques Barzun, and the teacher and editor of several current bestselling authors. What sets Stein apart is his practical approach. He provides specific techniques that speed writers to successful publication.

How to Grow a Novel is not just a book, but an invaluable workshop in print. It includes details and examples from Stein's editorial work with a #1 bestselling novelist as well as talented newcomers. Stein takes the reader backstage in the development of memorable characters and fascinating plots. The chapter on dialogue overflows with solutions for short-story writers, novelists, screenwriters, and playwrights. Stein shows what readers are looking for-- and what they avoid-- in the experience of reading fiction. The book offers guidelines-- and warnings-- of special value for nonfiction writers who want to move into fiction. Stein points to the little, often overlooked things that damage the writer's authority without the writer knowing it. And this book, like no other writing book, takes the reader behind the scenes of the publishing business as it affects writers of every level of experience, revealing the hard truths that are kept behind shut doors.


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User Review  - RandyMetcalfe - LibraryThing

Sol Stein is charming. He offers practical advice for would-be novelists mingled with discrete anecdotes and examples from his long career as a playwright, novelist, editor, publisher, and non-fiction ... Read full review

How to grow a novel: the most common mistakes writers make and how to overcome them

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

"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 ... Read full review


The Reader Is Looking for an Experience
Is Conflict a Necessity?
Capturing the Reader
Success Lies in Seeing the Details
Characters Who Are Characters
Where Writers Get Their Plots
Our Native Language Is Not Dialogue
Advanced Point of View
Some Fundamentals for Emigrants from Nonfiction
A Few Guidelines for Living Forever
The Responsibilities of the Publisher
The Prospect Before Us
Putting Out to the World
Midlist and Other Fictions of Publishing
Welcome to the 21st Century

Do You Promise to Tell the Truth So Help You?
Where Writers Go Wrong
How to Pilot Words Precisely 13 9
You Have All the Time You Need
Revision as Opportunityand Danger
Practical Matters
The Little Things That Damage the Writers Authority
Where Writers Get Help

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About the author (2002)

Sol Stein is the author of several novels, including the million-copy bestseller The Magician. As an editor, his authors included James Baldwin, Jack Higgins, and many others. Stein has lectured widely on creative writing, and was given the Distinguished Instructor Award by the University of California at Irvine in 1993. His columns appear regularly on America Online and elsewhere.

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