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

Sol Stein

St. Martin's Griffin



Trade Paperback

256 Pages



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How to Grow a Novel is master editor, novelist, and writing instructor Sol Stein's invaluable workshop in print. It includes details and examples from Stein's behind-the-scenes work with bestselling novelists 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.


Praise for How to Grow a Novel

"Stein is a fascinating guide and teacher. This should be required reading [for] 90 percent of published authors . . . Wonderful."—The Daily Mail (London)

"[Sol Stein] went over my manuscript with an infallible eye for the soft spots in my prose, giving me one of the best editorial readings I've ever had."—Lionel Trilling

"My publisher Sol Stein was my producer, and my editor Sol Stein was my director. Sol saw what I didn't think possible."—Elia Kazan

"[Stein] shares what he has learned from his extensive experience in the fields of writing and publishing. This book stands apart from the wide field of instructional writing books by putting the writer's focus on the reader. Highly recommnded."—Library Journal

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Sol Stein

  • Sol Stein is the author of several novels, including the million-copy bestseller The Magician. As an editor, his authors included James Baldwin, Jack Higgins, and many others. Stein has lectured widely on creative writing, and was given the Distinguished Instructor Award by the University of California at Irvine in 1993. He is also the author of Stein on Writing.

  • Sol Stein