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Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting Dynamic Characters and Effective Viewpoints (Write Great Fiction) Paperback – March 15, 2005


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Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting Dynamic Characters and Effective Viewpoints (Write Great Fiction) + Plot & Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot That Grips Readers from Start to Finish + Dialogue: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting Effective Dialogue (Write Great Fiction Series)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Writer's Digest Books (March 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582973164
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582973166
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

Nancy Kress's book on character development was helpful.
Ron
Writer's Digest Books stikes gold yet again with this book of the superb Write Great Fiction series.
B. Abernethy
This book gives many great tips in a clear and fun to read manner.
Martijn13Maart1970

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

197 of 202 people found the following review helpful By Erik1988 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
I picked up what I thought would be a rehashing of old material covered in other books on the same subject, but The Great Fiction series of books continues to impress and surprise.

So many books on creating characters speak to their physical description, wants, motives and give the character a background. This book goes a step further and tells you how to do those things and hits the key point of showing emotion.

In addition, chapter Eight titled "Talking About Emotion -- Dialogue and Thoughts" was worth the price of the book alone.

Other great topics were "Showing Change in Your Characters" and "Frustration -- The Most Useful Emotion in Fiction."

Like the other books in the series, Appendix A recaps the author's critical points. Thus for the impatient reader, jump to this appendix and read what the book is about. For those of us who enjoy the journey of the reading the previous 200+ pages, the appendix is a nice summary.

Overall, this felt like the first book that brought all the concepts of characterization into one place and provided me with an easy to follow roadmap to creating, deepening and SHOWING my characters off in my story.

My recommended characterization plan:
1) Read this book as a guide on how to breath life into your characters and what you are trying to accomplish with your characters. (Characters are not there by accident!)

2) Pick up The Marshall Plan of Novel Writing by Evan Marshal or First Draft in 30 Days by Karen Weisner. Both of these books take many of the concepts listed in this book and put them into templates and forms you can fill out to plot your novel

3) Write. Write. Write.
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72 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
As a beginning writer working on my first novel I'm constantly searching for "the book" on a particular facet of writing. As a general book for beginners, Gotham Writer's Workshop is great. However, this book takes its subject topics and provides insights that can be immediately applied to one's writing. Her chapters on point of view (POV) provide explanations that I have not found in other books. The chapters on character emotion are also very well written.

Buy this book, read it once through without doing the exercises. Then read it again, doing the exercises. You won't regret it.
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67 of 71 people found the following review helpful By LitTeacher on April 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
Nancy Kress has raised the bar on fiction instruction with this book. Each chapter is thoughtful and clear, with examples from recent works and loads of concrete advice for solving problems. Her sequence moves logically from characterization to depicting emotions, finishing with the most complete and intelligent discussion of viewpoint that I have found anywhere. She examines such difficult issues as when to use certain viewpoints and how to make them more effective. Her discussion of emotion shows how to make the characters deeper and richer while avoiding cliche and other pitfalls, all with good humor but demanding standards. This is among the best books on writing fiction that I've found anywhere. Writers and teachers of writing should all check it out.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By K. Mullen on February 19, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great overview on creating characters. The author is clearly very knowledgeable, and the writing is never dry. This book continues the trend of the series of including exercises to practice what you've learned. My only complaint is that it doesn't always go into quite enough depth. I realize, though, that the book was designed to be a quick overview and in that respect it works very well. I recommend this book for newer writers aiming at improving their technique.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful By An Android Fan on August 4, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a good resource for looking at how characters, the emotions they portray and in what viewpoint (first person, third person omniscient, third person limited, etc) to use, and it certainly complements the other books quite nicely. I have read all of the "WGF" books save for the one on revision and see them all as a great investment.

For this particular book, Nancy Kress does do a good job of exploring each element in detail. Like the other books, it is largely an overview of each concept, and, like the other books, she does hit on some similar aspects that the other books cover more extensively (how could she not? All aspects work together to create a work of fiction.) That is to say, the other Write Great Fiction books all cover every aspect of a piece of fiction, but mainly discuss how they relate to the given topic they wrote their respective book about. So brief overviews are found in the other books and each aspect is covered extensively in the given work. So "Plot" focuses on plot while giving smaller and more general explanations of characters, description, dialogue, etc. while "Dialogue" does the same with plot, description, characters etc. while keeping the focus on dialogue and so on and so forth. I would recommend a would-be author grab all four of these books, as this would then allow them to see the whole picture.

My main problem with this particular book is that when she gets to the section where she delves deeply into first person, at one point at least she goes into a small rabbit trail about why some readers don't like and will never read first person. Apparently they're willing to read books but not willing to suspend their disbelief that the character narrating the work was an active participant.
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