- Series: Elements of Fiction Writing
- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Writer's Digest Books (1988)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1599632128
- ISBN-13: 978-1599632124
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,568 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Characters & Viewpoint (Elements of Fiction Writing)
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Top Customer Reviews
Card grabbed my attention as I scanned the table of contents. I immediately followed this by perusing the bold headings within the chapters. After reading the book I find it an important resource in my collection of books for the writer.
The book is divided into three parts. Card begins with pointers on inventing characters, where they come from, potential audience, and choosing names.
He moves on to help the reader/writer construct characters, including the protagonist, supporting, and minor characters. I particularly needed help in the area of voice, presentation, and person. Card included illustrations from well-known authors to reinforce the writing principles presented throughout the book.
"The Elements of Fiction Writing - Characters and Viewpoint" is an important tool for new writers. The book is filled with definitive techniques for creating vibrant memorable characters.
There are not a lot of actual writing examples used, and the ones that are present are used to help explain his point rather than to illustrate a technique. This is not a book on technique, it's about a high level description of various things relevant to characterization. As a random example, the section on "raising the emotional stakes" starts out with "suffering". Card explains that the more you repeat suffering the less emotional impact it has, and that suffering is more effective when you know its specific causes and effects rather than just describing it. This applies equally well to pretty much any source of emotional impact, such as love, so there is no real idea unique to suffering. Card likes to take general writing truisms that are perfectly useful in themselves, and inflate the page count by wrapping them in overly specific examples.
Don't get me wrong, there is some useful stuff here at the "writing 101" level rather than the "remedial writing" level, but it's a minority of the book and it's sometimes well hidden. There's a very short section on the contract with the reader which makes the basic but useful point that the reader assumes the start of your book is important. Don't put throwaway stuff in the first few pages, if something isn't going to reappear don't give it depth and background right at the start.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'd already heard much of the advice in this book, in part because Mary Robinette Kowal of the Writing Excuses podcast is a fan and refers to it often. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Mike Reeves-McMillan
I just finished reading this book and as a writer, there were so many good things about it. Orson Scott Card gives a lot of helpful advice about characterization. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Emily H.
I don’t want to finish this book. Well I do, but the author just opened up my world. He’s given me such incredible tools, I just want to get back to my writing and use them. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Daniel
This book changed the way I looked at my writing. As an independent author, I found this book to be one of the top five books about writing that I've ever read. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Jon Dudycha
Firstly I'm an Orson Scott Card fan. His stories made me want to write characters of my own that other people could relate to, believe in, and care for. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Just Me
I've read many books on proper book writing techniques and have managed to glean something from each one. This book, however, gave me more understandable information than others. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Barbara A Martin
One of the best books I've read on character and viewpoint development in fiction. Many excellent examples made it easy to digest the author's lessons. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Patrick F. Rooney
Had no idea so many questions, considerations go into creating characters! Now I have a greater understanding of why Orson Scott Card's characters draw me in & keep me so... Read morePublished 9 months ago by melody robb