3 out of 4 stars
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Creating Literary Stories: A Fiction Writer’s Guide by William H. Coles is a guide book for aspiring authors. It details the process and troubles authors face when trying to create literary fiction stories.
The book separates into two sections, Book 1 and Book 2. There is some mildly explicit language use (sensual and gory) in the examples the author presents.
Coles’ Book 1 is a guide that describes the necessary information regarding the process of writing a literary story. He describes and analyzes the writing components, such as character, narration, dialogue, and time including many others. Most of his chapters offer definitions of specialized terms that need further clarification and explanation.
Coles starts by mentioning the most critical component in fiction: Character. He writes about how important character development is and how this adds to the character's complexity in literary fiction. He also presents some of the most common mistakes in character development. Coles describes the three different perspectives (POVs) of narration, as well as the differences between narrator and author.
He notes that dialogue is a multi-functioning tool that attributes the story with action, conflict, and a voice. In this chapter, he gives several examples of improving dialogue in several instances to make for a better literary story.
In the book, conflict and humor are also very important in the making of a literary story. Coles gives well-thought-out and concise descriptions of examples and options for the aspiring author. Time is another ingredient that he looks into to clarify the differences between real-time story-time and how it can make or break the story.
Finally, Book 2 summarizes and puts all the elements of writing a good literary story together. Coles provides summaries of prose, characterization, plot, and narration (and many more). Whereas Book 2 reads more like instructions, Book 1 is more introducing and analyzing the basic ideas. In Book 2, the reader gets a more concise outline with examples and guidelines on how to go about creating a literary story.
Coles is analytic and precise in explaining the process of writing. He produces several examples of re-writes (and editing) that work best and provides definitions regarding specialized words that need clarification. He writes the book in a rather technical and slightly academic language that might need a bit more concentration to understand.
I found the book to be highly inventive and direct. The author offers a guide through the challenges of writing literary fiction. It teaches writing with useful examples of the ideas the author provides. However, there were some moments where a bit more editing would have benefited the overall reading experience.
The book is well structured, it avoids overly long paragraphs and the language, for the most part, is very clear to understand, Coles clarifies any technical or specialized language he uses and summarizes in few words most of his chapters.
I give this book 3 out of 4 stars. Is it a well-edited book, apart from a few spelling errors I noticed. This guide book is a practical way for aspiring authors to become conscious of errors during their writing process. I believe that the book helps not only in writing literary fiction but fictional stories in general as it points to the best ways to engage readership and avoid common mistakes. I enjoyed this book a great deal, and I would highly recommend it not only to aspiring authors but to any book lover.
Creating Literary Stories: A Fiction Writer's Guide
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