by Sol Stein
How to Grow a Novel
St. Martin's Griffin, March, 2002.
Paperback, 240 pages.
Editor and author Sol Stein helps writers learn what they are doing wrong and provides practical advice and methods for fixing and avoiding common writing mistakes. Sol Stein is a well-known author, writing teacher and editor. Stein also wrote the popular writing book, Stein on Writing. An editor for top writers such as James Baldwin, Jack Higgins and Elia Kazan, Sol Stein really knows his stuff. He's see all of the mistakes that writers make, and tells you how to fix them. Stein guides writers through the writing process, step by step. Stein teaches writers how to focus on what the reader needs to get out of a novel; he teaches writers how to grab and keep a reader's attention. In the book he also covers the usual craft of writing topics like conflict, dialogue, characters and plot ideas, but he also provides inspiration to keep writers going. For example, when faced with writers who can't find the time to write, Stein explains the story of Christy Brown whose life was the basis of the feature film My Left Foot. To the writer with no time to write Stein says, "He [Brown] wrote his manuscripts one letter at a time on a special typewriter IBM contrived for him. All the lines on the occasional letter I received from Christy slid upwards at an acute angle because IBM didn't figure out how to make the paper-grip work on the special typewriter. Christy wrote his three novels and two books of poetry within a single decade, taking time off to do the Today Show and the David Frost Show and interviews in England, all from the wheelchair he was confined to for life. What did you say your problem was?" This is an exceptional writing aide -- one that can and should be read all the way through. How to Grow a Novel is great book for improving one's writing -- and one's attitude.
How to Grow a Novel is available for purchase on Amazon.com
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This review was published in the April, 2002 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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