- By Sol Stein

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

  • Title: How to Grow a Novel: The Most Common Mistakes Writers Make and How to Overcome Them
  • Author: Sol Stein
  • ISBN: 9780312267490
  • Page: 381
  • Format: Paperback
  • How to Grow a Novel The Most Common Mistakes Writers Make and How to Overcome Them 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 co

    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 MEach 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.

    1 thought on “How to Grow a Novel: The Most Common Mistakes Writers Make and How to Overcome Them

    1. So far as I can tell books on writing fiction break down into three genres: 1) Books by writers passing on what they've learned along the way (King) 2) Books by writers/teachers geared toward students (Burroway), and 3) Books by editors/agents that give an inside peek at the publishing industry.Stein's How to Grow a Novel is a hybrid of all three. Before he became an editor he wrote a bestseller called The Magician and few other novels. In form and function this book reminds me very much of Dona [...]

    2. Stein writes a few gems of advice here and there, but he also lays just as many eggs; some of his advice is arbitrary, sometimes he rambles on points which could have taken half as long to make (the editor needs an editor), and his suggestions for further reading include his own book--On Writing--which he references throughout the entire text, all the while making it sound better than How to Grow a Novel, and he suggests other books written by friends, a strategy that basically undermines the au [...]

    3. I came upon this book when I was trying to find the answer to a technical question about the novel I am writing. I feel like this book gave me a complete writing workshop just when I could use it the most. Some of the most important points:Conflict is a necessary element for dramatic action.You have to capture the reader from the beginning or they will never love the book.Generalities are blurry; success lies in details that enable the reader to experience the scenes.One plus one equals one half [...]

    4. Well-written, sometimes rambling off into name-dropping tangents. It contains some useful insight but is perhaps unfocused. Part of it is how to write, part of it is general analysis of writing and publishing from the viewpoint of someone who has worked as a writer, editor, and publisher. If you are looking for a manual or guide on how to write well, this is not it. But if you've already gotten prose under your belt, and want some insight into how an editor or publisher views a novel, this might [...]

    5. There's some extremely valuable info here that I've not found in other books on the craft, including some useful insider info on the publishing biz. Unfortunately, you have to wade through a lot of examples and self-promotional, self-congratulatory b.s. to find the good stuff. It wouldn't be ungenerous to say the book could have been half the length. Already outdated in some ways, but still highly useful for serious people.

    6. I enjoyed this book, and hoping to get more out of his earlier book, Stein On Writing: A Master Editor of Some of the Most Successful Writers of Our Century Shares His Craft Techniques and Strategies. He is a bit full of himself, but there's good information here. Probably worth buying.

    7. (Recommended in "Self-Editing for Fiction Writers" for being an anecdotal guide on the common pitfals of writing a novel.)

    8. One of those books that start out really strong & helpful, and then sort of fizzles towards the end, as the author pads out his material to Proper Book Length.

    9. I'm a sucker for "how to write a novel" books and when How to Grow a Novel was on sale, I picked it up as I was interested in Stein's perspective not just as a writer but also as an editor and publisher.There's some good stuff here and the advice is practical and precise, if sometimes contradictory. Stein both advises writers to read their own work aloud--and to not do so (because novels are read, not heard). He offers some genuinely interesting glimpses into how the book publishing business wor [...]

    10. I got the feeling that Sol Stein had a lot of great writing advice . . . but also that he'd explained most of it in Stein On Writing: A Master Editor of Some of the Most Successful Writers of Our Century Shares His Craft Techniques and Strategies, and that he wasn't willing to repeat it. (In fact, in this book he gives several references like, "Just read chapter umpty-ump of Stein on Writing."Having not read Stein on Writing, I was adrift through parts of this book. And not being interested in t [...]

    11. Practical adviceStein writes with the authority gained from a lifetime juggling the roles of writer, editor, and publisher. He provides plain-spoken advice supported by examples and anecdotes. He asserts that the author's number one obligation is to create strong emotion on the part of the reader, and his book builds upon that premise.

    12. Most of this book is really solid writing advice presented in a convincing way, the only flaw of which plagues all books that attempt to teach writing in a comprehensive way - the complexity of fiction writing results in far too vast a set of criteria and strategies to keep all of them in mind simultaneously while actually writing. So really, this book probably works best if you're moments away from reading a manuscript you intend to edit and require a really good checklist to go over as you fin [...]

    13. This was published in 1999, so a fair amount of what it offers is out of date. If you were looking to be a novelist between 1950 and 1990, though, this would have been a great source of information. Even today, much of what it says about basic storytelling remains valid, at least for popular fiction.One thing that is changing (thankfully) is increased diversity. Novels today don't need to be as formulaic or appeal to as large a percentage of readers as they once did because eBooks (which aren't [...]

    14. I hadn't read three pages of this book before I felt that it was written for me. Or for people like me: authors who cannot imagine not to write, and who still make lots of mistakes despite their experience and their closeness to their material. I read reviews in which people say this is a good book for aspiring writers. Perhaps this is so, I cannot say. I can only speak for myself, and I'm not an aspiring writer, I have four books to my name as we speak. To me Stein's book read as a personal wor [...]

    15. If I could give this 3 and a half stars, I would. I felt that some chapters were excellent at guiding writers with helpful exercises and things to consider. Some chapters were not so helpful. Some of the information was a bit outdated, and Stein waxed on with personal stories too much for my liking. Oftentimes, I felt these personal vignettes did not add to the topic at hand, but served to highlight his excellence at writing and editing. A plug for his work, so to speak. I also was irritated wit [...]

    16. This is a good read by an author who weighs in on writing and publishing from his extensive personal experience. The first section, "The Responsibilities of the Writer," contains interesting but not earth-shatteringly new information about how to write and improve your own writing. I found the second section, "The Responsibilities of the Publisher," much more enlightening. This section offers an eye-opening look at the business side of writing and how the publishing industry works once you have [...]

    17. Sol Stein is an author, editor, and publisher, and his advice makes use of all three roles, making it very well-rounded. He makes frequent references to his other book "Stein on Writing," which sounds perhaps more in-depth on writing specifically (and which I will probably read next) whereas this has broader coverage. Lots of good advice in here, certainly, but that might be a criterion for deciding which of these two to read first."How to Grow a Novel" doesn't seem like quite the right title, t [...]

    18. I read this book in my youth when I first got into my head the crazy idea of attempting to write a novel. Throughout the years I have gone back many times leaving the book with creased and highlighted pages as battle scars of much use. This How-To book will not only teach you how to grow a novel but with time will also grow on you. There are many lessons in here that my younger self lacked the capacity to understand. Now against the background of everything I know, advice like "be courteous to t [...]

    19. There were a few chapters I loved in the book--filled with helpful advice on craft and technique . But most lacked substantial instruction. The author would build to an interesting point and then refer the reader to "Stein on Writing" for the actual pay-out of that idea. I felt cheated. Perhaps "Stein on Writing" is the better book, the book I should have read, but I am unlikely do so at this point. I struggled to warm to the author's pedantic voice and would have preferred more "how-to" and les [...]

    20. I really enjoyed this book. I found the style of writing easy to read, flows well, and compelling; everything you would expect from a good novel. He also cites passages from other novels as good examples of the principles he is discussing which makes me want to go read some of them, including his own work.As a reader, I feel I have better tools to enjoy further fiction reading. As a would be writer, I feel I have a better appreciation for how these tools are used in other books and will be able [...]

    21. I read this because of my love of Sol Stein's Stein On Writing, which is one of my favorite writing books due to the practicality of its advice and his balance of writerly and editorial POVs. I was not disappointed: thus far, I found this book to be my favorite one specifically discussing novel-writing. I took tons of notes, and as I'm revising my current WIP, I'm drawing extensively from Stein's wisdom.

    22. I like Stein's attitude. He's got some good advice in here--nothing terribly new to someone who's read a dozen or so fiction craft books, but he makes it seem fresh. He's old school and brazenly self-promotional (excerpting his own books as example texts and the like), but his credibility is solid enough that I wasn't bothered. I picked a copy up at my local library, and I suggest you do the same if you are interested. (It's good, yes, but not worth paying for.)

    23. "How to Grow a Novel" is somewhat of a companion book to Mr. Stein's "On Writing," a book all writers should read whether they have been published or not. Stein goes into more detail, expanding on the do's and don'ts of writing and explains everything in a concise and precise manner without being boring. Stein has a way of writing that makes you feel as if he's in the room talking to you like a personal mentor. Wonderful book on the craft, I highly recommend it.

    24. Excellent book of practical writing tips from well-respected author and editor,Sol Stein, someone who knows the publishing business and many of the 21st centuries most famous authors. Since it was published in 1999 when the print-on-demand revolution was just happening, some of the advice is a little dated, but the basic core of everything he says is good advice.

    25. Wonderful resource. I read this on the commute to and from work and while it offered many tidbits that I've been familiar with in my writing spells, it provided a nice, organized refresher to read through. I appreciated Stein's examples and references through the text with each dimension of examining story mistakes and elements.

    26. I enjoyed this second book I've read of Sol Stein's. This one had a clear focus on the fundamentals of writing a novel and revealed desirable and non-desirable elements in a novel from the perspective of a reader, editor and publisher. My biggest take-away was that nothing should slow the reader down or distract him from moving through your story.

    27. I read how-to books on writing on occasion, but this was different. The author is a novelist, and was an editor of a good many books. He tells the reader about certain techniques of story telling, and then gives examples of the technique from books that he edited over the years. I came away from this book with a list of other books to read. I highly recommend it.

    28. found myself skipping the long references to books many 21st century readers are not familiar with - although i did like stein's emphasis on the importance of character and his statement that no one wants to read about their next door neighbor. however, i don't agree - good stories can be found anywhere, and i do believe the old adage that everyone has a book (thus a story) in them.

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