Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sol Stein on the Job of the Writer

by Deren Hansen

Sol Stein, in his article "Six Points About Character, Plot, and Dialogue You Wish You'd Have Known Yesterday," defined the jobs of the editor and the writer as follows:
"The job of the editor is to help the writer realize the writer's intentions. The problem is that the intentions of many writers are wrong. The job of the writer is not to express himself or get something off his chest; his job is to provide the reader with an experience that is superior to what the reader experiences in everyday life. His job is to give the reader (or viewer) pleasure; only then will his insight mean something. As a writer, you are, in one sense, a troublemaker. A psychotherapist tries to relieve a person's stress, strain and tension. You are not a psychotherapist. Your job is to give readers and viewers stress, strain and tension. They love it because it is not in their life; it is in a book or on screen."
What do you think?

How well does this definition capture the job of a writer?

Deren blogs daily at The Laws of Making.

1 comment:

Paul West said...

A great post, Daren. I'd read that by Sol Stein and forgot it. It's good to be reminded as sometimes our writing can get off track.

Thanks for the reminder.