Review of Creating Literary Stories: A Fiction Writer's Guide

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Johan Erasmus
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Latest Review: Creating Literary Stories: A Fiction Writer's Guide by William H. Coles

Review of Creating Literary Stories: A Fiction Writer's Guide

Post by Johan Erasmus »

[Following is a volunteer review of "Creating Literary Stories: A Fiction Writer's Guide" by William H. Coles.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Creating Literary Stories: A Fiction Writer’s Guide by William H. Coles is a non-fiction book about the characteristics and creation of literary fiction. It is divided into two main themes (books). Book one discusses, explains, and differentiates the elements of literary fictional stories (as opposed to other genres of literature). Book two offers advice, guidelines, and essentials on how to create your own literary fictional story. The literary theory that ought to be encompassed in acceptable fiction is discussed, from the most important aspects (like characterization, dramatization, and narration) to helpful hints (like how to use humor or explanations about why a particular narrative perspective may fail to engage readers). The book ends with an appendix that directly addresses lingering questions and concerns that authors might still have about whether to pursue/continue a career in literary fictional writing.

What I liked most about this book is how useful and valuable it is in serving as a guide for writers. Coles draws on an abundance of experience (including his published fiction and non-fiction books) and clearly understands the requirements for exceptional and original literary fiction. His tone is authoritative yet patient, and he remains respectful to other literary domains. The book succeeds in providing the correct tools for creating a quality story. Without a basic understanding of the many fundamentals essential for great narration, or mistaken motivation, one is destined for either failure or inferior work. I also liked that the author included comparative examples of writing (segments from his books included) to show what he means, instead of just telling. I particularly liked that the author advocates an altruistic purpose for literary fiction, especially during a time in history when humanity appears to need it most.

There was barely anything I disliked about this book. However, I am slightly disappointed to learn that both ‘free will’ and ‘desire’ are deemed absolute prerequisites for characterization, according to the author. Although I agree that this seems obvious for most characters, I can’t help but wonder why there couldn’t also be room for wiser characters. Sage characters rise above these restrictive ideas and could at least offer a different perspective or at most facilitate growth, development, and enlightenment in other characters. Dramatization needn’t be lost altogether by including enlightened characters in a story, and neither would the genre of literary fiction be compromised by dynamic mentors. Other readers may disagree.

I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I look forward to using this guide for improving my writing. The author’s effort is nothing short of admirable, and he has been meticulous in offering every possible suggestion for writing not just remarkable literature, but creating memorable and lasting works of art.

I highly recommend this book to any author or aspiring writer of literary fiction. I also recommend it to authors of genre-fiction or any other literary domain, for it could just prove to be the catalyst that some may require for evolving and realizing their ultimate potential as authors – providing selfless, philanthropic service to mankind.

Creating Literary Stories: A Fiction Writer's Guide
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Post by MsH2k »

It sound like this book has sage, well-structured advice. Thank you for your recommendation. Excellent review! :balloon:
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