Patricia Reding


Review from Readers’ Favorite FIVE STARS
In Creating Literary Stories: A Fiction Writer’s Guide, author William H. Coles says that a work of literary fiction is a story that “has a character-based, character-driven plot, with carefully developed and sequenced motivations . . . presented through scenes structured with conflict, action, and resolution.” He then elaborates on various themes. What is a character? How is one developed and molded from the stereotypical to something outside the norm? Why might a reader care? Coles also introduces and covers topics such as narrative perspectives, the use of dialogue, conflict, humor, and more. In the portion titled Book Two: Creating a Literary Fictional Story, Cole provides further details about prose, plot, setting, imagery, and drama. Finally, he provides a sturdy discussion regarding how and why a writer needs to revise their work, and he presents a series of questions a writer might consider that may allow them to hone their skills so as to write better stories.

Although I am a writer myself, my only “study” of literary fiction has been by way of reading the classics and other great works. Thus, I found the discussions in Creating Literary Stories informative, encouraging, and challenging. I especially appreciated concepts that William H. Coles covered regarding character development, including how one might express a character in a manner that will leave a lasting impact. I also enjoyed his discussions on such matters as using “animate” words when providing descriptions, adding humor, and the importance of making dialogue fit a scene so that it feels genuine. Finally, I know that I will find the questions presented in the Appendix a helpful tool when reviewing and revising my works in the future, and I trust that others—whether their works are deemed to be works of “literary fiction” or of genre fiction—will, as well.