A few weeks ago, I treated myself to some books on the art and craft of writing. Among them was Stein on Writing by Sol Stein.
Sol Stein wrote thirteen books, and was publisher and editor-in-chief of Stein and Day publishers for twenty seven years.
The book is not what you’d call an easy read. Treating it as such would be doing it–and yourself–a disservice.
Sol Stein says, and I agree, that fiction and non-fiction writers have a lot to learn from each other. The book is divided into sections for fiction, non fiction, and a few bits that apply to both.
However, every writer can benefit from every single chapter in this little gold mine.
He divides the different aspects of writing into manageable chunks and almost every chapter contains exercises to help you grasp on the subject, as well as practical examples from published and unpublished works.
While I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the examples Stein uses, the stuff he’s trying to tell us makes a lot of sense.
While it’s all theoretical, it makes you think. Most times, I found myself sitting there and nodding along, thinking, “Yes! Gods yes. I so agree with that.”
All I needed to do was realise it.
I immediately put his lessons to work and began to apply them to the pieces I’m working on.
If the amount of books you can buy is limited, due to stupid and unfair things such as budget or bookcase space, this is one that absolutely deserves a spot in your house or your e-reader.
I know I’ll be returning to it again and again, to brush up on a certain section, to look for a specific exercise, or to refres my memory on Stein’s manuscript triage checklist.
If you happen to read it as well, I’d love to hear your thoughts.