4 out of 4 stars
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Many authors today—in the literary fiction world—tend to imitate writing styles of their favorite or popular authors instead of finding out the correct formula that will result in a perfect masterpiece, capable of surviving for many centuries. As a result, there are many badly written fictional books outside there, dangling in the ether, populated with clichés or hackneyed descriptions, or simply extraneous authorial ideas. William H. Coles’ Creating Literary Stories: A Fiction Writer’s Guide is a skilfully written guidebook for both novice and experienced literary fiction writers. This book acts as a bridge for authors or aspiring authors who will want to join the league of successful writers.
William H. Coles—an experienced literary fiction writer, who has written many books over the last decades and a winner of multiple awards—has keenly observed the reasons why stories fail or remain relevant for many decades, and he has penned this wonderful guidebook to help writers understand the nuances of this career. The book has two major sections: book one and book two. Book one (The Literary Story in Fiction) covers an introduction to literary stories, narration in literary stories, dialogue, in-scene writing, why literary stories fail, and many more.
Book two, (Creating a Literary Fictional Story) covers fundamentals of telling literary stories, essentials of literary story writing, how a literary story comes to life, providing for the reader, and many more. The author affirms that great stories are dramatically constructed art forms that produce an enlightened change in characters and readers, not a flamboyant description of lived abstractions such as love, hate, or jealousy.
I picked this book because I’m an aspiring author, and while reading through, I realized that there are a lot of mistakes that authors often do, some of which even some readers fail to notice. William H. Coles succinctly explains the importance of in-scene narration. Using short examples, he explains how to create in-scene-described stories. It was easier to agree with the author that many readers (this reader included) are engaged by in-scene writing; however, many authors opt to use narrative writing, because it is easier for them. I was fascinated by how he explained different narrative perspectives authors can use, giving their merits and demerits.
Creating Literary Stories: A Fiction Writer’s Guide clearly explains why readers will love or hate your fictional work. I came to realize that most of the worst books I have ever read are products of lesser authors, who write only for catharsis, self-aggrandizement, or ego—they often ignore understanding of humanity or broad objective incorporation of the world outside their worldview. The author explains, with relevant examples, how to create engaging dialogues and the mistakes that most authors do while creating dialogues in literary fiction prose. He elucidates when one should use dialogue and where the narrator should come in.
The second section of this book was my favorite; the author gives eight elements that one should consider while revising his/her writing. I liked his guidelines and principles of characterization. He uses brief and well-understood examples to expound the difference between in-scene and narrative telling of conflicts in a story. There is nothing I disliked in this book. Even though there were a few cases of typos, I can say the book was exceptionally edited.
Overall, Creating Literary Stories: A Fiction Writer’s Guide earns a sparkling 4 out of 4 stars. This is a recommendable handbook for all writers—whether you are an amateur or an experience/professional writer. If you are an aspiring author, get a wiggle on and grab this book to polish your terrible writing skills. College students, pursuing literary studies or creative writing, should as well read this vital book.
Creating Literary Stories: A Fiction Writer's Guide
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