Your future as a writer is in your hands. Whether you are a newcomer or an accomplished professional, a novelist, story writer, or a writer of nonfiction, you will find this book a wealth of immediately useful guidance not available anywhere else. As Sol Stein, renowned editor, author, and instructor, explains, "This is not a book of theory. It is a book of useable solutions-- how to fix writing that is flawed, how to improve writing that is good, how to create interesting writing in the first place."
You will find one of the great unspoken secrets of craftsmanship in Chapter 5, called "Markers: The Key to Swift Characterization." In Chapter 7, Stein reveals for he first time in print the wonderful system for creating instant conflict developed in the Playwrights Group of the Actors Studio, of which he was a founder. In "Secrets of Good Dialogue," the premier teacher of dialogue gives you the instantly useable techniques that not only make verbal exchanges exciting but that move the story forward immediately. You won't need to struggle with flashbacks or background material after you've read Chapter 14, which shows you how to bring background into the foreground.
Writers of both fiction and nonfiction will relish the amphetamines for speeding up pace, and the many ways to liposuction flab, as well as how to tap originality and recognize what successful titles have in common. You'll discover literary values that enhance writing, providing depth and resonance. You'll bless the day you read Chapters 32 and 33 and discover why revising by starting at page one can be a serious mistake, and how to revise without growing cold on your manuscript.
In the pages of this book, nonfiction writers will find a passport to the new revolution in journalism and a guide to using the techniques of fiction to enhance nonfiction. Fresh, useful, informative, and fun to read and reread, Stein on Writing is a book you will mark up, dog-ear, and cherish.
In this stimulating guide, a veteran novelist (The Magician), editor (Stein & Day) and teacher offers a banquet of savvy advice. Unlike Anne Lamott et al., Stein aims not to help his readers wrestle with writerly anguish; rather, he gets on the page, citing examples from writers famous and fledgling, closely analyzing first sentences, creation of character, plotting and dialogue (use ``speech markers'' to differentiate among characters). Stein concentrates more on fiction--point of view and the creation of love scenes--but his advice on such issues as self-editing and choosing a title applies also to nonfiction. A section on nonfiction contains worthy remarks about adapting fictional techniques (suspense, visual particularity, etc.) but is too brief to be a full guide to journalistic writing or producing an account of a historic event.
The Missing Manual
Mr. Stein - My writing has improved tenfold, thanks to you. I’ve been reading a lot of books on writing, lately, and yours surpasses them all. It’s like finding – not a good – but a GREAT automotive repair manual.
...I hope it’s not only mechanics who can appreciate that. :)