4 out of 4 stars
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As the name suggests, Creating Literary Stories: A Fiction Writer's Guide by William H. Coles is a book for practitioners of fiction writing, even though I think fiction readers can learn something from it too. The book provides a compact and organized guide to understanding fundamental problems in fiction writing such as character developments, narrations, dialogues, conflicts, points of view, and many more.
I like the organized structure of the book. There are definitions and discussions of terminologies, which have tremendous educational value. I appreciate that the author could explain the most fundamental aspects of storytelling in a short book instead of a long textbook for creative writing. I admire how William H. Coles used different writings from the same plot to describe how the change in words and phrases can completely change the way readers perceive the story. For instance, in an analysis of Red Riding Hood, he presented how changes between passive/active voices and transitive/intransitive verbs can change the genre of a story. The most important lesson I learned from this book is that a writer should be humble; bear in mind that a story should only be if it has something to say about humanity. Anything else is just tactical. Without humility, a writer could never step outside of his/her ego and thus could never deliver a fulfilling story. Some challenges of modern storytelling are also mentioned, such as the failure to comply with the show-don’t-tell advice. The book is practical because besides telling us what to do, it also tells us what not to do.
I cannot find anything I dislike about this book. It is short, no-nonsense, and practical – which is the most required character a guide should have. The book cannot make the readers become successful fiction writers right away, but it would surely help us become better writers.
With all the points discussed above, I would give this book 4 out of 4 stars for the excellence in its content. Writing could be confusing at times because authors are confused about what they really want to say. This book could guide us through that. The book is well-edited; I did not notice any errors.
I would recommend this book to everyone interested in writing and reading, especially readers. With this book, readers could learn how to analyze a story. I believe better readers would create better writers. The book provides many interesting insights. If possible, I would suggest that readers get a hardcopy version of the book because you may want to take note.
Creating Literary Stories: A Fiction Writer's Guide
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