Creating Literary Stories: A Fiction Writer’s Guide | BOOK REVIEW

“Readers should be guided to their own conclusions about theme and meaning through excellent characterization and objective plotting that is unbiased by the author’s feelings and structured to engage the reader in the story such his or her own opinions are formed and new thinking is stimulated.”

William H. Coles

Conceptualizing a story is, in a way, easier than putting it into words. Writers, especially beginners, must think thoroughly about how to produce a remarkable narrative, how to make the plot and characters more stimulating. Having no formal training in writing a fictional story is difficult. In my case, I usually use the books I’ve already read as my guide and study how they were written. But of course, it won’t be enough. I’m happy to find lots of essential pieces of information and helpful ideas in this book that I needed in my writing journey.

What I like about Creating Literary Stories: A Fiction Writer’s Guide is that the author focused on improving the simplest details that could make the whole picture delightful to the readers. He has included enough samples to make each topic easier to grasp. For example, he showed a set of dialogues that could have a tendency to kill the movement of the story. Also, what does it looked like if a dialogue lacks dramatic conflict, may seem static, overwritten, or could even mean nothing to the story. He also pointed out the importance of choosing the right words that could add action or motion. For example, a writer can’t just write ‘hands’ when it requires movement so let us say ‘trembling hands’. Or, using specific words more than the general one can add vibrance and life to an inanimate object. Instead of just stating ‘a painting’, why not describe what was the painting all about. Was it a hunting scene, a portrait of a woman, or a garden with colorful flowers?

It is already given that self-help books like this will touch on the topic of characterization, plot development, the essence of drama, dialogues, narrative, etc. But more than that, I have learned that the authors must also know their boundaries in crafting fictional stories. For instance, irrelevant thoughts, opinions, or emotions of the authors must be removed as it may hinder the creation of a great story and may pose a negative impact on the readers as well.

In some chapters, you will find definitions of terms so as not to mix up their meaning and to use the words properly. It also has a helpful checklist for revisions and the polishing phase. And as I have mentioned earlier, sufficient examples were provided as a guide for better writing. These are just a little overview of the great things that this book can offer.

I recommend this to all aspiring writers because it could help them know the basics of writing a literary story and even to those who are already good in the writing field to help them improve their craft.

I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. Not 2 because I find each chapter of this book very informative and easy to understand. My only negative comment is that I have found some spelling and grammatical errors which will be my reason for not giving it a 4.

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