The Art of Writing a Story by Low Kay Hwa is a rather interesting book. At first I thought it wasn’t going to be of much use to me. It starts out talking about elements of a story. As someone who has done many book reports in grade school and currently working on a BA in English, I thought this was child’s play. The Author goes into depth on these things by displaying one of his own short stories and showing each of the elements throughout it. He discusses plot, exposition, rising action, climax, falling action,and denouncement. For those that do not have a background in this area, this could be quite useful; however, for me it seemed rather simple and boring to go over again.
While the author probably had a good reason behind placing his other novels as examples within this book, it almost felt like he was endorsing his own works instead of trying to help the reader. Once again, this may have to due with me already having a background in this area and over looking how this could help someone else who doesn’t have the same background. The author uses his own novels to point out other aspects that writers should be aware of, not just the elements discussed before.
The part that spoke most to me was “Elements of Writing a Good Story.” That is the part that inspired me. This is a relatively short book, so even though this book didn’t have a lot to help me, just this small portion was worth it. I mean, the book was free after all. The author explains how one should plan, “Before I write my first scene, I already know what the last scene will be as I have planned my story before even switching on my computer.” This is something that spoke to me, because even if it is just a fanfic that I have planned in my head, I do this. I never thought to do this purposefully, I just did it naturally. I guess one could say I have a natural instinct for it. The author also talks about visualization. I do not visualize like this author does, but it explains why I like to play the sims so much. Ever since I was a child I visualized myself into movies and manipulating them to where I became a main character, even though it was a character I created. This is probably why fanfics help me to release my creative juices. Research is another thing, something I have done for fanfics (partly because I have a bad memory), but not so much for my own stories. I do occasionally, but this book made me wonder if I should more.
Last but not least, the author mentions writing and redrafting. This is the part where he speaks the truth. While I have yet to actually finish a story so I can redraft it, I have done many English papers that have required redrafting. The author knows just how important that process is. That is probably why it seems there a good portion spent focused solely on this topic.
The most inspirational part of the book is the “What It Takes to be a Novelist.” This is the part that made me want to put down the book and just start writing anything and everything. He talks about his daily goals, which is honestly really inspiring to me. I honestly wouldn’t be able to hold up to his standards (especially with the reading half a novel), but it inspires me to try and get so much work done in one day solely for the purpose of writing and aiming to be a great novelist.
The book still goes on a bit, partly as his own opinion and also to say not to give up or get discouraged just because you don’t get published right away. He uses your typical examples of Stephan King and J.K. Rowling, but who wouldn’t use them as examples of not giving up? They are excellent examples.
Overall, if you want to be a writer of stories, I suggest you get a copy. Even if you know everything the author has to tell you, read it just for the inspirational ending. It’s a short book. Many people could finish it within an hour. If you are not wishing to be a writer of stories but could use some tips or inspiration to get some writing done, I suggest you pick the book up just for the last 40% of it. It may help more than you realize. Also, did I mention the book was free?