Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Review from Readers’ Favorite FIVE STARS
What is involved in writing the best short story? The best work of literary fiction? Is it the narrative? The characterization? How does a writer improve the craft of writing? We, as writers, are always (or, at least we should be) working on honing our writing skills. We need to consider at all times our ability to work with all the key elements of literary fiction: characterization, narration, character-based plotting, dialogue, drama, point of view, significance, revision and so much more. We may cringe at the latter necessity, revision, the bane of a writer’s existence, but it is a necessary evil, so to speak. But, we must all remember, as we work on improving our writing skills, that “Fiction is art that emerges from imagination and is created with skill, structure, and revision.”

William H. Coles’ book, The Art of Creating Story, is a mammoth work of art in itself, not to mention a very helpful tool for wannabe and established writers alike. It is a concise and complex compendium of what is involved in writing and creating a story. It might also be seen as an encyclopedia of the do’s and don’ts of creative writing, complete with detailed lessons on how to craft the most compelling story and write the best dialogue, narrative and so much more. The book begins with essays that discuss multiple writing skills. Like characterization: “Learning effective characterization for literary fiction is essential for great stories.” Good words of advice, especially considering, “Great literary fictional characters are created for a story purpose that will please a reader, and, to be most effective, are not described in exact detail from reality or imagined reality.” There is a section that includes intense interviews with great literary authors as they share their skills. And the last section is a collection of short stories that clearly demonstrate the skill set outlined in the book. A powerful tool to help all writers at any stage in their writing careers.