By 1946, Edmund Ware had become established as one of the more popular outdoor writers in America. His short stories of hunting, fishing and the Maine woods were published regularly in numerous sporting magazines. He had not come from a writing background, and wasn’t well schooled, but he worked his way up in the writing arena regardless. What was it that made Smith such a great writer? Some of it must have come from his limited eduction, some from hard lessons and repeated practice, and some was probably just natural ability. Regardless, Smith had discovered a formula for writing success, and he certainly had something valuable to teach others.
“From Fact to Fiction” may have been a way for Smith to give back. The book was a text of sorts, written by Smith (under the pen name Edmund Ware) and writing professor and friend Robeson Bailey. Back in those days, there was much greater demand for short stories. Television hadn’t yet taken over the entertainment market, and newspapers and magazines were still the greatest source of information for the average American. Thus, there was great demand for writers and many colleges taught students how to write for this market.
The book combines the ability of Ware to craft a short story with Bailey’s teaching talents. In each of the book’s ten chapters, an Edmund Ware story is printed, along with his comments on how he wrote it, and what techniques worked. Bailey provides teacher’s comments as well, going into more depth about writing short stories.
“From Fact to Fiction” is unique to all of the other Edmund Ware Smith books, not only because it was a college textbook. Many folks aren’t aware that Smith wrote over 600 short stories, and not all of these were about hunting and fishing. In fact, many were completely unrelated to the outdoors. This book features some Smith stories that I would have otherwise never encountered. Another interesting thing about this book is that it can teach some very valuable writing lessons for those who would like to attempt writing short stories. While it is dated, much of the information remains useful today.
“From Fact to Fiction” is a rare book and can be difficult to find at a reasonable price, but there are some copies out there.