4 out of 4 stars
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The following is a review of the book entitled Creating Literary Stories: A Fiction Writer's Guide by by William H. Coles. I read the book in a relatively short amount of time because I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and I highly recommend it. I rate this book a 4 out of 4 . I do not believe that a rating this high is to be lightly given. However, the reason I give it such a high rating is that the book accomplishes what it claims to do in a succinct fashion. Mr. Coles gives much valuable insight that will improve the writing of people who are interested in composing literary story fiction in under 130 pages which in my view makes it an excellent investment worth the highest rating. I have read stories my entire life, but I usually avoid books such as this one because I usually feel like I am being forced into a straight-jacket that if I don't follow a certain way as exactly defined by an author the story will automatically fail. Mr. Coles does an outstanding job of of not losing the overall goal of a story, but providing much helpful information in how to actually go about writing a literary fiction story. Almost all people who are interested in the construction of a literary fiction story will find this book interesting and useful.
The book stresses the fact that for a literary fiction story to succeed the author must possess a vivid imagination. Without an imagination that is capable of drawing the reader into the story the characters will not come alive and even if the plot is good overall the story will still be flat and uninspiring. One of the main reasons for this is that a literary fiction story is imagined and is not relating events from historically verified records. Without the ability to properly envisage the story and convey this imagined reality to the reader the author will not be successful.
Mr. Coles goes on to stress that in conveying a literary fiction story an accurate narrative perspective is essential so that the quality of the story offers authentic insight into life as human beings truly perceive it. Obviously this cannot be accomplished without a meaningful and engaging plot. He provides a useful rule that the fiction author writes the story, but should not tell the story. The narrator tells the story that is created by the author and contributes to the story from within the limits of the story world. In other words, the story must be entertaining. The only weakness in the book is that since so much insight is given as to how to write the story I think sometimes the mere fact that the story must entertain is sometimes not articulated enough.
Great literary stories are written with a distinct purpose in mind, and literary fiction is arguably the best means for fully conveying imagined reality. It allows the story to be created without being encumbered by a preconceived reality. In addition, literary fiction allows the full range of character motivations and action to develop the purpose and pace of the story to its fullest potential. Great authors create classics when the imagined reality comes alive and engages the reader across all periods of history. Mr. Coles explains this marvelously, however I would once again point out that all of the classics are entertaining as well or they could not have become a classic.
Mr . Coles is also careful to point out that without an adequate structure the story is doomed to failure. I highly recommend that the reader look through the book to ascertain the in-depth advice that is given to keep the story with-in a proper framework. I cannot go through them all, but in conclusion I would highlight 2 points. The reader who is seeking higher levels of artistic expression in literary fiction will reject characters and plots which devolve into mere sentimentality. Second, writing a literary fiction story with the primary motive of persuading a reader to adopt a particular point of view will almost always rightfully be rejected as propaganda. I have learned a great deal by reading this book and I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about literary fiction stories, but particularly those who have an interest in composing them.
Creating Literary Fiction: A Fiction Writer's Guide
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