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Paperback Elements of Fiction Writing - Characters & Viewpoint Book

ISBN: 0898799279

ISBN13: 9780898799279

Elements of Fiction Writing - Characters & Viewpoint

(Part of the Elements of Fiction Writing Series)

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Book Overview

For more than a decade, this successful series has helped writers improve their work-- one element at a time. Featuring quality instruction from award-winning authors, each book focuses on a key facet of fiction writing, making it easy for writers to find the specific guidance they're looking for.

Customer Reviews

7 ratings

Highly Recommended

I've been writing stories and developing characters for my own entertainment for half of my life and characters are So Important to me. Now that I have finally embarked on the terrifying journey of creating a story with the purpose of sharing it with the world, I have been soaking in all the information I can get my grimy little hands on. Even with my intense passion and love for Character Development, my knowledge and skill is based on experience and my own biases only; I have no formal training and I KNEW I could learn a handful of things from this book- and I was right!! I've learned so much more than just "a handful"- this book breaks down the actions of your characters and the CONSEQUENCES they will face from your audience!! This is something I have never thought of before, and something that every author out there should take into consideration; obviously my stuff won't please everyone, but to know what you're doing and how it will impact your readers is HELPFUL in building your story in general! How can one pull off a Feel Good Love Story if you're writing characters your audience simply won't respect?? This book breaks down a lot of ideas, sub-genres, and heavily recommends figuring out (for our own, unique stories and processes) WHEN to develop characters. I had a lot of "oh, duh" moments while reading this and it was EXTREMELY helpful for me to read stuff I already did but didn't realize/know why!! This is also an extremely quick read and the break down portions are packed with information and examples, making it a consise, 170 page tool I'd recommend on every writer's shelf.

Orson scott card is tops

Always helpful material from him. Never fails

All you want to know and more.

Orson Scott Card, a well-known, successful sci-fi writer, master of the craft of characterization, gives us with this book one of the few writing reference volumes that flawlessly delivers everything it promises and more. Whether you want to write fiction of any genre, or scripts and plays, and whether you are a beginner or an experienced writer, this book has tons of essential, useful and solid information to offer. Written in a clear, engaging style and organized in a user-friendly format this thoroughly informative volume is divided into three parts (Inventing Characters, Constructing Characters and Performing Characters) that cover everything you need to know to breathe life and believability into your characters and mold them to accurately fit your story, including among others: *The factors that make a good character *How to come up with ideas for your characters *How different types of stories relate to the characters *How to give emotion to the characters *The different types of characters *Transformations in the lives of characters *The pros and cons of each point-of-view The author's suggested exercises reinforced by the excellent examples that illustrate his exposition are helpful additions that allow the reader to immediately apply the lessons learned. Humorous anecdotes and important advice on general storytelling (sources for ideas, plot twists, story structure) are an added bonus. With this book, you will not only learn how to create great, memorable characters, but you will also attain a greater appreciation of fiction, whether in book or film format, by gaining understanding of the processes required in all aspects of characterization. With a great binding, sure to resist constant rereads and quick consultations, and a modest price this book is the best value on the market for the advice offered. --Reviewed by Maritza Volmar

Will they care?

Readers must care about your characters or there is little point in writing about them. Even if you are a beginning writer you probably already know how you'd LIKE your characters to appear to the reader... but you may not know how to `get there from here'. This book gives you the tools and knowledge to make your hero likable, as well as daring, and your villains believable rather than melodramatic or cardboard. Anyone who has read the fiction of Orson Scott Card knows that he is a master of the craft of characterization, and he proves in this book that he can also explain how it is done step-by-step. He provides a vast array of techniques that can be used to hew and hone your character to the shape desired. In fact, he gives the beginner so much choice that you may be amazed and daunted by the sheer complexity that you CAN put into a character. Fortunately he puts it into perspective by making it clear that you need not use ALL the techniques and that many of them you may never want or need to use. He emphasizes the importance of using the appropriate tool for the task and that, as a writer, it is your responsibility to match the tools used with the results desired. If there is a negative side to this book at all it would have to be that Orson Scott Card is probably a little too nice, a little too egalitarian, in his presentation. I'm reminded of the TV artist who can create a breathtaking scene on canvas in half an hour while simultaneously making his audience comfortable with remarks about how a little dab here and a stroke there (as you watch him do it) can be turned into a work of art. Obviously HE can do it. And he makes it look so easy you feel that you could just pick up a brush and it would all happen almost by itself. Only in your dreams.Card can't give you the talent or motivation to write well, but he certainly does a good job of presenting the tools you'll need to mold your characters into people others can care about... if you are willing to work to acquire the skill.

If you're a writer, you owe this one to yourself

I'd recommend this book to any author, novice to frequently-published. Even if you are an absolute natural at instilling your characters with life and believability, it is vital that you know the steps you are taking, unconscious though they may be, that make your characters seem plausible and alive. Card parses out exactly what makes the characterization in any story work. The are chapters on description, motivation and growth are solid. Combined with the wonderful and numerous contrasting examples of good characterization/bad characterization, you will be able to go back to any story you've written and add, subtract and tweak your characters to make them leap off the page. Don't sell this book short because Orson Scott Card is primarily a writer of science fiction, either. This material will make absolutely any fiction a whole measure better. Worth the money. Revise your stories with it. Write new, better ones after reading it. Run your writing workshops according to it. Card has given the writers' community a true winner here.

A Probing Look Into Character and Viewpoint

The book is divided into three parts: Inventing Characters, Constructing Characters, and Performing Characters. Card discusses a wide range of related topics: factors that make or break a character, the different types of stories (Milieu, Idea, Character, Event), how to write emotional scenes, transformations in the lives of characters, show and tell, and the benefits and drawbacks of each point-of-view (POV)---among others. Each chapter flows with a conversational, succinct style, leaving the reader with no excuse for misunderstanding. The final chapters on (POV) were well worth the money I paid for the book. Card explores POV deeply, deeper than any other writer of writer's books that I've read. Between paragraphs, I thought about my own stories and how they grossly lack POV unity (now back to the computer to revise). He uses illustrations, draw by Janice Card, to clarify his points (not that he needed to). After reading the last chapter, I set the book down and thought, "that's a damned good book." It's plain that Card loves fiction and has a thorough comprehension of what good fiction is; this book radiates it fully.

Discover Card's secrets!

I would read Orson Scott Card's shopping list if I could - I just devour his writing. However, reading this book is much more profitable, even if you have no writing aspirations. Written in 1988, when he'd only published a fraction of his incredible list of titles, you will see that he had the whole writing game sorted out, even then. Without credible, interesting characters, possessing an understandable viewpoint, a novel is just a whole bunch of words. I find that I have reviewed some of my favourite Card books (and others) since reading this, and gained a better insight into the characters, their actions, and their thoughts. Card certainly has proven he knows what he's talking about - led by Alvin and Ender, Card has been responsible for some of modern fiction's best loved characters. How fortunate are we to have the great man share his secrets!
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