Solutions for Writers by Sol Stein
Released over twenty years ago, Sol Stein’s Solutions for Writers has become something of a classic on how to write. A practical tool box aimed at both fiction and non-fiction writers, it’s a valuable if somewhat flawed addition to any author’s literary kit.
Solutions for Writers undoubtedly benefits from the authority of its author. Stein is an author, editor, and script writer who has worked with several big names in writing. As a result, he’s seen what does and doesn’t work from different angles. This background makes it easy to have faith in him as a writer on writing. Stein has earned the confidence with which he writes.
Stein’s approach in this book isn’t to provide a set of broad principles or to set out the basics of writing. Though the book claims to be suitable for writers of all levels, he assumes a familiarity with the fundamentals of storytelling. This isn’t a book that will tell you about three act structure or the different points of view.
Instead, Stein presents a toolbox. Each chapter deals with an individual topic, from good dialogue to creating tension to selecting a point of view. These are presented in a practical way, with examples and guidance on how to apply them. You can dip in, pick a tool for the specific issue you’re dealing with, and use that.
As well as focusing on practicality, Stein emphasises the need to practice. Good writing won’t just arrive in a flash of inspiration and not everything you write will be solid gold. We need to exercise our story-telling muscles, not just try to run literary marathons.
Should You Buy?
Overall, this book is full of invaluable tools. Some readers will enjoy the author’s style more than others, but it’s always accessible and there’s more than enough to make it worth your time.
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