Book: Crafting Great Stories
Author: Gerald Gallagher
Genre: Non-fiction, writing
Review copy: Reedsy Discovery
Available at: Amazon.in
Recommended: Must Read
A concise guide to starting with the art of crafting impactful stories – ideal for students, beginners, leaders, and writers of all genres.
Storytelling is a buzzword not just amongst creatives and academicians but also in corporate boardrooms. Off late, there is an emphasis even on delivering impressive stories around bland data charts. Effective storytelling requires skills in story writing and narration. While there are several books on the subject, Gerald Gallagher’s Crafting Great Stories is a succinct and handy guidebook. It gets straight to the basics and carves an easy-to-grasp set of rules and practices based on research.
Gallagher summarizes all the key elements of story writing and supports them with ideas that can act as writing prompts for a beginner. He builds his book on the affirmation – “The author is mighty, indeed, having the ability to create worlds unlike our own.” His book is then a simple toolset to get a writer started on this unique journey. Crafting Great Stories has valuable information for those who are exploring the art of storytelling and a ready-reckoner for those wanting to hone their craft. My copy of the book has several highlighted takeaways for reference.
Apart from the rules related to good writing, such as outlining, plotting, characterization, setting, and tying it all up neatly together, Gallagher talks about an important subject – writer’s block. He offers advice on how to tackle writer’s block and acknowledges, “…writing burnout is a real and sometimes terrifying thing.” He talks about first deciding on the narrative type you want to build. On this canvas, one can add brush strokes and colors that give a complete picture of an outline. Sometimes, where to start from is the toughest question and Gallagher gives sound advice.
He has given numbered lists and cheat-sheets while providing ample material to create your own. There is information on story arcs and subplots, secondary characters, subvert expectations, and how the story’s theme differs from the moral. I found it interesting that the moral should be woven “into your writing mostly during the middle section of your writing.”
I appreciate the author has dedicated an entire chapter to the art of editing and publishing, which I always believe breathes life into any piece of writing. I also enjoyed the chapter on creating settings and backdrops, and even treating them as characters. This is an important book and a must-have for all writers who want to learn the dynamics of creating impactful stories.