4 out of 4 stars
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“Great characters are conjured from unthinking trances” is one of the many misconceptions that this book debunks. William H. Coles in writing Creating Literary Stories: A Fiction Writer’s Guide aimed to provide a practical resource for writers in the literary fiction genre that can be used to improve on the key elements such as characterisation, plot, humour and Point of View. The sections in this book are split into book one and book two. Book one focuses on the literary story in fiction while book two teaches how to create a literary fictional story. I thoroughly enjoyed chapter 12 in book one on why literary stories fail. Authors are advised to avoid “cleverness” that leads to lyricism and unclear words. Doing this will ensure that the story remains purposeful without becoming irritating.
The book is sequentially sound. The aspects of literary fiction were placed in an order and format that is very easy to follow. When I hear of fiction in general I expect a gripping story. This book thus started a little plain for me. This really just points to my learning style and is in no way a reflection on the author’s writing talent. Little Red Riding Hood's example was perfect in understanding the importance of significant characterisation. What the story then also did was it livened up an otherwise dull but educational start to the book. I do wish that this was the entire structure of the book. This book offers multiple valuable lessons. I realised that I was acting like I was studying for an exam with all the notes I ended up taking.
What I like most about the book is the definition of terms in the chapters. It truly was very helpful for me throughout the book as I always had an understanding of what the chapters were about before getting into detail. What I disliked most is the start of the book as it was very full and uneventful. I also was not very keen on the use of Hamlet from Shakespeare as an example for stage-play dramatization. Although I appreciate what the author was endeavouring to portray, I simply find the type of English used very difficult to comprehend. I have read Shakespeare’s Macbeth and I thoroughly enjoyed it because it had accompanying notes explaining the text in modern English.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. This book was in my opinion professionally edited and it is very concise. I found no typos in the text. Because of the above, I have no reason to deduct a star from the rating. This book would be suitable for anyone who wants to learn how to successfully write literary fiction. It reads like an academic book therefore people who have no interest in this type of work might find the book slow and dull.
Creating Literary Stories: A Fiction Writer's Guide
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