4 out of 4 stars
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As a writer, I am always searching for ways to improve my craft so it connects with the reader and leaves a lasting impression. The search for this knowledge can seem daunting because there are so many opinions and thoughts on the best way to connect with a reader of fiction. After reading Creating Literary Stories: A Fiction Writer’s Guide, I feel a refreshed eagerness to jump right into writing with the information I gleaned from this amazing book. The author William H. Coles was able to reignite a fire in me for fiction, after so many other writing books had failed, that has left me eager to put everything I absorbed into practice with my next novel. I found this book extremely thought-provoking, and it wholly deserves a rating of 4 out of 4 stars.
Writing a work of fiction is a very complex tasks that requires an understanding of the writing process, a knowledge of who your audience is, and the ability to create characters and worlds that will draw your reader in and immerse them in the tale you wish to tell. It seems like a daunting task to create a memorable world and characters that the reader will identify with and connect to all the while staying true to the story being told. Thankfully, Creating Literary Stories: A Fiction Writer’s Guide takes the reader through each aspect of storytelling required to make a memorable, immersive story that the reader will remember long after reading it.
It begins by taking you through each of the pieces of the puzzle that all must connect to create the final picture that will be presented to the reader in such a detailed and thought-provoking way that I read each section more than once just to make sure I missed nothing. One section of the book I enjoyed the most was the section covering what is essential to create a lasting character. This section touches on things from character development and the necessity of a character to move forward the plot while still staying true to themselves to the importance of stereotypes and when and how to use them.
Another section I enjoyed and found very useful covers dialogue and ways to make it progress the character and/or the story. I have been guilty of creating dialogue for the sake of having it and after going through this section of the book I found a new understanding of what dialogue should be and how powerful doing it right is. The suggestions about how to use dialog to further the plot and character without it becoming a distraction for the reader were spot on and really struck a chord with me, so much that I’m now excited to write dialogue instead of being uneasy about how it will flow in my stories.
Though character development and dialog were two of my favorite sections of the book, there are also many other areas explored, such as motivations, POVs, why literary stories fail, the fundamentals of telling a literary story, and even revisions. While this is not a full list of everything covered in the book, these are some areas I felt were the most compelling to me as a writer. With so many topics covered in it I was at first worried that some areas might be lacking or less helpful than others but that is not the case. It covers each of its topics with depth and detail that only come from someone with a true understanding of the craft. I found myself going back to reread chapters more than once just to fully grasp all the information that was being presented to me because I did not want to miss a single iota of detail. This book is a must read for any writer no matter the skill level who wants to explore new ways to modify and improve on the writing process through a deeper understanding of what it takes to write a great book.
As a whole, the book was well written, and each section delivered a vast amount of knowledge and understanding that any writer would benefit from. I found myself excited to pick up where I left off after putting it down for a short while which is a rarity for me since this book is more educational than entertainment, because the way it presents each topic made me eager to learn more. While reading, I did not come across any sections I did not enjoy or felt disjointed, so I can honestly say I enjoyed it completely from cover to cover. After having read this book I feel that I now have the skills to become a great writer, as opposed to just a good one, and now I’m eager to get started on my next novel to put everything I learned into practice.
Creating Literary Stories: A Fiction Writer's Guide
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