Lorraine Cobcroft

Review from Readers’ Favorite
William H Coles is an accomplished author, having written several novels, many short stories, and several instructional texts for writers. He knows what makes for good literary fiction. Creating Literary Stories: A Fiction Writer’s Guide delivers a wealth of helpful information for the would-be author, and for established authors who wish to improve, or who perhaps want to migrate from genre fiction to literary fiction. Coles begins by pointing out that ‘literary means writing that is important and memorable, with permanent artistic (creative) value’. He then stresses that a literary story is imagined. It is not a memoir or description of events that have occurred.

Creating Literary Stories provides a wealth of sound advice for writers. In Book One, Coles breaks the work into chapters that explain the proper techniques of creating and managing characters, writing dialogue, adding humor, choosing the most appropriate point of view, and managing desire, motivations, and emotions in the story. Book Two departs from dealing with specific techniques used in writing and focuses on creating a literary fictional story: the fundamentals and essentials of story writing, building characters, writing for the reader, and bringing a literary story to life. I found Book Two far more useful in that it delved more deeply into plotting, the essentials for good writing, transitioning, and the core principles of dialogue, voice, action, and language. I also appreciated the way Cole explained the key ingredients for a story with a strong appeal to readers.

Coles delivers a wealth of useful information and advice in Creating Literary Stories, delivering a text that any serious writer should find valuable. I found it heavy going in parts, and I felt using simpler language and clearer analogies and examples would improve readability and comprehension, but overall this text has great merit. I recommend it to any writer who wants to write literary fiction or who already writes in that genre and wishes to improve their skills. It may also be of use to some serious readers who wish to better understand literary fiction and more accurately assess the quality of writing in literary classics. It’s a text I, as an aspiring author, will add to my bookshelf.