4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Solid resource for character development and point of view,
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This review is from: Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting Dynamic Characters and Effective Viewpoints (Write Great Fiction) (Paperback)
This is part of the Write Great Fiction series from Writer's Digest. Each book in the series covers one broad aspect of writing fiction, and of course there is some overlap as well.
The first part of the book deals with creating and representing characters in your writing. There is advice on all the usual topics: character name, character appearance, character bio, and so on. There's more, too: the pros and cons of using yourself or someone you know as a model for a fictional character, and how to get character ideas from the news or other sources. The differences between main characters, secondary characters, and minor characters are discussed. There are numerous examples of how the details the writer uses to describe a character's clothing, home, speech, and so on contribute to character development.
Representing character motivation is covered, along with good advice of how (and how not) to present a character's back story. Portraying emotion is explained well, with an emphasis on the tangible signs of emotion and character behavior.
There are two chapters on special character issues: characters in genre fiction and humorous characters.
For me, the most valuable part of this book was the discussion of point of view. Kress moves beyond the basic definitions (first person, third person limited, third person omniscient, etc.) to discuss the actual mechanics of making a chosen point of view work consistently. There is an excellent discussion of the concept of distance in third person viewpoint; this brought a lot of my questions and issues about third-person writing into focus. A whole chapter is devoted to multiple viewpoint, and how to navigate them.
I would recommend this to anyone wanting to work on making deeper characters or managing the challenges of point of view in their writing. It wasn't as helpful to me personally as Plot and Structure, but that reflects my own level of understanding in the two subject areas.