Book Review: Stein on Writing


 Stein on Writing by Sol Stein  is a book every aspiring author should  read and keep in their bookcase.  I took my time working through this  book because I wanted to absorb every bit of information and experience he passes along.

The book is  akin to taking a semester long course with Sol Stein. You feel like he’s there imparting his wisdom every time you open the book. One of the most important things I took away from reading this book is that fiction evokes emotion. That can only be done by showing not telling.  The writer’s job is to evoke the audiences’ emotions.

The book  is divided into sections on  fiction and nonfiction. I skipped the section on nonfiction because I don’t write that. Some of my favorite chapters were about: how to show instead of tell, flashbacks how to bring  background into the foreground,  suspense keeping the reader reading,  and how to use all 6 of your senses.  He uses terrific examples to highlight his points, but the book does not get bogged down in excerpts.

This is definitely one of my top 5 favorite books on writing. Thank you Sol Stein!





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22 Responses to Book Review: Stein on Writing

  1. Thanks, Kourtney. I will keep an eye out for this book.

  2. I’m offset by many books about writing, but this sounds like a must-read. Thanks, Kourtney!

    • I try to read them as a way of working on my craft when I’m not taking a class or attending conferences. Some have great advice, some are so-so. I try to take away what I can. 🙂

  3. Thanks, Kourtney! Sounds like a terrific book and it’s now on my list of “must” buys.

  4. crubin says:

    Looks great, Kourtney. I’m going to flag it on Goodreads.

    • It really helped me. There are some areas I feel really strong in, but it helps to have a refresher. Areas I didn’t realize I was weak in are now on my radar to work on too. 🙂

  5. jmmcdowell says:

    Any book that can help with “show don’t tell” is a winner. 🙂

  6. berry says:

    Ok Kourtney. If u say its good it must be. Hows the neck and arm. Get bettet. We miss u.

    • One of the best books on writing that I’ve read. 🙂 Still have tingling in the hand and neck pain. Hoping a few weeks of reduced typing and physical therapy get me better. 🙂 I miss you too!

  7. klynwurth says:

    I learned a lot from Sol, too. I read it a few years ago and actually bought his novel software to help myself with character development. Smart man. Good writer. You’ve reminded me I should read it again…

    • I was thinking about trying the software. Did you find it useful? He’s smart and he’s also really good at conveying everything he’s learned. 🙂

      • klynwurth says:

        The one I bought is WritePro/FictionMaster, in 2008. At that time, it seemed like something that hadn’t been updated in a while. I had a few installation problems with it, even on an older Windows system. Their tech support was great, but it took a while to get it to work. I just installed it on my Windows 7 computer and it won’t open any of the modules (characterization, plot, etc.) It seems to have difficulty connecting to the internet and won’t update. Other than the glitchy stuff, I’d say that it covers beginner writing skills, probably not something you would need at your stage, anyway, with your writing experience. Stein might have new things, by now, for more advanced writers. He is great.

  8. Had not heard of this and will definitely try and get my hands on a copy after this review. Thanks, Kourtney!

  9. 4amWriter says:

    I’m open to trying it. I’m like August–many writing books turn me off because they can be very preachy and written as though all authors follow the same style, same rules.

    But I will always try a book if it is recommended, so I’m putting it on my To Read list. 🙂

    • I totally understand that. I try to look at them as advice from experts. This is their way of doing things, not the only way. I take what I can and make my own process with elements that rang true from each book. 🙂

      This one taught me to see things I didn’t see before. 🙂

  10. So what would you say was Sol’s best bit of advice, Kourtney?

Any thoughts or reactions or favorite foods you want to share?