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on December 14, 2008
This book has an interesting premise: that all literary characters can be traced back to Greek archetypes personified in the pantheon of Gods (Athena, Zeus, and friends). The author goes on to describe each of the Gods' attributes and how they relate to character types found in literature and film. She also explores how the various character types interact with one another. The final section of the book explores two archetypal story outlines - the Feminine Journey and the Masculine Journey. These are actually quite useful templates to help an author design his own plot outline, and are illuminated by the author's comparisons to well-known examples from literature. On the whole, I would say this is a good book for a beginning author to read in his quest to write compelling drama. Give it a read, and judge for yourself...
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on March 18, 2014
I am someone who buys just about any writing help book thrown my way. I have an entire bookcase dedicated to writing help books. When I am not at my regular job, I make money freelance writing online. There are three books that are constantly kept by my computer and this is one of them. If I am writing up a batch of plots to see ebook writers, a quick flick through this book is enough to inspire an entire plot. My friend and I actually played a game with this book. We would give each other a literary character and then find that character's archetype in "45 Master Characters." Most often, we both chose the same archetype for each character. This book is very clear as to what qualifies as what archetype and helps you to take your 2D character sketch into a very living, 3D person. I recommend this book to anyone who wishes to create more vibrant characters.
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on September 12, 2015
It is an excellent book! The book is perfect for any aspiring writer who yearns for guidance in plotting the journey of the characters you create in your stories, both feminine and masculine. It draws from famous movies and novels to aid in this process. It also looks into mythology and jungian psychology to give the aspiring writer more tools to consider. I thank the writer for taking the time and energy in publishing such a wonderful book.
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on September 20, 2007
I've never written a review on a book, but as I read 45 Master Character I felt compelled to say something about it. I wouldn't call it a book on building characters, but it is great at structuring your character, and surprisingly, it helps structure plot too. What this book does best is give a framework that helps bring out ideas. It is one of my favorite books and will be permanently on my desk. CP
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on April 18, 2009
No one will ever argue or debate about the importance of story characters. They form the basis around which their stories evolve. A strong character defines the story, making you care about what happens to him or her. This is true because we come to understand their underlying motivation for their behavior. The author develops the deeper sense of a character by making the storywriter aware of what his characters need to do or how they should behave. We learn what they care about or fear, among other things. In East of Eden (by John Steinbeck), we learn about Katy, the mother of the two brothers in the story, who endured a difficult childhood and grew into a life where she had to fend for herself. This impressed upon the reader, (John Steinbeck's reader), what was important to her and what she had to watch out for, yielding a deeper character.

The Superman character and Star Trek's Spock character are two of the most enduring characters of all-time. Why? Because they possess hyper-personalities that demand your attention, but why is that so? Some characters just naturally need to be the protagonist, a hero, king, strong leader or antagonist. If a writer decides to employ such a strong story character as his protagonist or antagonist, then he might call upon images from a higher power. He might want that character to be endowed with special personality traits.

Victoria Lynn Schmidt cleverly uses Roman and Greek mythological personas to represent what she describes as Archetypes. She has defined 45 of them. These well-defined characters are far more memorable than what most writers try to invent. The best have already been invented. We only need to draw upon classical examples, as do the great storytellers of all time. Shakespeare was very well known for doing that.

Some issues arise when a distinction is drawn between characters of male or female professional identities. Up until recently, most people thought that jobs belonged to one sex or the other, making some jobs distinctly male while others distinctly female. In recent times, that distinction has become blurred to the point that certain jobs have been renamed: policeman, police; postman, mail carrier; stewardess, flight attendant; waitress, food server; fireman, firefighter, etc. Victoria Lynn Schmidt has again separated the sexes so that writers can allow them to assume appropriate roles in order to generate master characters. It is important to remember that in many stories the characters are bigger than life. One way she achieves this is by the special properties each archetype bestows, owing to its mythological counterpart, the significance of special traits. However, she draws a clear distinction between archetypes (distinctive mold) and stereotypes (arbitrary generalization). Many budding writers can learn a lot from the manner in which certain professions manifest in the midst of a story.

Victoria Lynn Schmidt also talks about each archetype's journeys. These are important because it tells the reader where these people are coming from and where they intend to go. I like the way she brings in the pieces of the character in order to frame the archetype. Of course, a skilled writer will only use the pieces necessary in order to define his particular character in his particular story.

I will be eager to read the next book that Victoria Lynn Schmidt writes, having felt supported by her magnificent insights into understanding the intimate nature of storytelling. She ought to be a tribute to writing manuals, setting the standard for the invention of new literary tools. Had such a book been around years ago, I would be much further along. Anyway, she's here now and you, too can read and discover the magic in her wholesome and revealing style.
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on June 6, 2002
I found the information in this book both rewarding and informing. Being a new author, I have studied the format, the styles, and the characterisation examples here. Wonderful ideas for future novels.
I recommend this book.
Leonie Campbell
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on August 12, 2011
Incredibly helpful. I have been going through as many books as I could find on developing characters and characterization and picked this up out of desperation. It was just what I needed! The book identifies common male and female archetypes and links them to characters from classical Greek mythology. (Who could have dreamed that the Odyssey/Iliad section of high school English would actually be useful some day?) It identifies the positive characteristics of each archetype, and then shows what happens when that kind of personality drifts over to the dark side.

The book also lists popularly known characters from movies, books, and TV who fit each archetype. For example, when you're reading the chapter on Hera, you immediately realize Marie Barone, from 'Everybody Loves Raymond,' will be on that list. I got a much clearer picture of how characters will probably behave, and suggests what archetypes work well with each other or are most likely to help your character grow and change. The book also points out that you don't have to follow each archetype description to the letter--there will always be some crossover between types and people do act out of character or move from good to bad and sometimes back again; but it gives you a very good general overview. I was able to match up several of my characters right away (Hey! He's an Apollo! She's more like Athena!). I'm just kicking myself for not getting this book much, much earlier.
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on August 13, 2013
This helps in going further from the generic 'base' character archetypes by providing a lot more depth and options, as well as pointing out archetypes of well-known fictional characters (as implied by the cover).

I particularly liked how the book gives you pairs of archetypes to complement each other or to challenge each others' traits to cause character growth or conflict. It's like a middle step book, 1st work out your base archetype, 2nd.use this book to be more specific. 3rd, add more depth in traits and behavior. I'll use this book with "Writer's Guide to Character Traits" and "Breathing Life Into Your Characters" - seemingly all good companions to each other, I thought.

It's certainly a great reference I'll keep to hand when structuring my stories and would recommend it to anyone.
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on June 3, 2011
This book covers every character you ever need as a writer. If it has one fault there are probably too many characters for the average writer to get your head round. There is a lot more to this book than just the character types; there is an interesting section on character journeys which realy helps one understand how and why characters are who they appear to be. This book is a great read and should be read again and again to get a real understanding of character. It's not the only way to look at character but it has everything you need to know to write good, deep and meaningful characters. It is female biassed and it is heavily centred on the Greek myths but most writers will be able to get something out of this book.
By the author of Call me Aphrodite
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on June 4, 2013
This book goes into great detail and provides numerous examples of character types and their journey in fiction. It is an absolutely necessary study for any author who wants to create three-dimensional characters who move the plot forward. It is the most enlightening information I have found on character development.
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