A Review I Wrote for Michael Milton

Upon reading “Short… “, I was able to re-think what I thought about in regards to writing stories. I have my own way of writing them; it did not change; and this is a wonderful book to read, however. I think it would be worth anyone’s time to share in Milton’s tale of his bath-house story. He discusses writing advice and displays his choices.

The story he writes about takes place in China and utilizes a main character effectively. As we read the story three different times, we see how amazing and real some great ideas can be, how they can come to life. Milton discusses techniques of revision, gives us examples of what his peers had to say about his writing. A great idea for a story to begin with, it is impressive to see how the story evolves into its amazing final draft. It is about the father of a Chinese rock drummer – it almost seems to be a factional account. Broken and torn, the Chinese father and his wife seek a brighter future.

This book is not a grammar or style book. It does not tell us how to construct a story with a specific method. It does cover various techniques, however, and shows us what works best for audiences from time to time and what will not. It would be best to write out a story and then read this book. It is more for inspiration and consideration of a certain piece of work; it is great for someone who is new to creative writing, fun for consideration to those of us who constantly rehash classic literary devices. I like the story, itself, because it uses a protagonist and concludes nicely. The final draft is well-done; he includes links for writing properly and inspiration, too.

Many of the links in the end of the book are still up to date; Milton is on the web. I sent him a compliment on tweeter, earlier, to: @miltonmichael.

I took notes as I read the book. Milton certainly has a natural gift for writing, as seen in his first draft. The story includes the use of a protagonist well, does not have a specific climax. The story did not really need one, as it did not need too much rising action, falling action, or foreshadowing. This is because it was a nice story, and its conclusion was nice. An in-depth denouement is not always necessary for every story, the father’s problems were solved. It was nice and pleasing to have a happy ending. A link to suggested writing resources via Michael Milton is here.

Milton encourages writers to review others’ works and allow others to criticize theirs, too. He uses a cat as a symbol, it is a good part of his story (I agree). Could the cat have been a symbol of luck in regards to the father finding his son? We do not know, at least the main character had the opportunity to seek a happy future. Break downs of his story and explanations were nice, as well as thinking about the line-by-lines (lbls); he does not tell us how he created the characters, scene, main idea of the story, early on.

Commentary on the second draft was fun to read; it reminded me of an intriguing web forum. Critics point out aspects of his story that we would not have noticed, otherwise, necessarily. Some of the criticism may have been more or less opinion-based, however we as writers should never forget the power of a sentence or paragraph or composition that is written properly. Those dreaded messages in red ink that say impossible commands such as, “Re-word” or, “Improper word choice” are not always there when we write on our own. “Showing” us the story with dialogue rather than narrating incidences, for instance, is not always easy to remember to do. We write out the story. It is done. How we choose to present our final draft defines our unique voice. The better we write, the more our reading audience will appreciate the voice we empower.

The final draft was impressive, indeed. All good stories should be published, they say, and how nice is it to see one revised to perfection? Very nice, indeed. Milton goes through a section on tips and tricks; the section makes the book worth reading. The story alone was fine, too. He does mention books on grammar, plotting, character, and style – they are good books. He also includes a resources link on his website, an invaluable path for writing better/well. He mentions his participation in plays, play-write discussions and acting, and how these notions better help us as writers develop our characters/their roles.

In conclusion, the book is a great inspiration for those of us learning to write better. Milton’s idea to present to us a broken down Chinese father who finds his rock-n-roll son after seeing a cat in the rain was great. He used a protagonist properly in a great story, explained to us how well he revised it and what made the story so phenomenal. His concluding thoughts and resources were both inspirational and will come in handy for anyone who decides to use them. I encourage anyone considering writing a story again for the “first time” to read this book; thank you, Michael Milton, for sharing with us your various methods of mayhem. Awesome job.


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