- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Writer's Digest Books (August 15, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1582975221
- ISBN-13: 978-1582975221
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 94 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #989,737 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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45 Master Characters
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From Library Journal
Screenwriter Schmidt offers a book for writers struggling with characterization, emphasizing interesting, believable women characters. Looking to mythology for such types as Aphrodite, Artemis, and Zeus, Schmidt concisely outlines each type's cares and concerns, strengths and weaknesses, and likely reaction to common problems. She also gives familiar examples from TV, films, and books. For example, Sam Malone of Cheers is a "Joker," and the "Shadow" is all the terrified characters surrounding Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween. Most blocked writers will find useful leads here, but debating the examples do Lucy Lawless and Sandra Bullock both qualify as Amazons? could easily become one of the better teaching uses of this book. Recommended for creative writing collections and workshops. Robert Moore, Parexel Corp., Waltham, MA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Victoria Schmidt is a screenwriter for film and television. A graduate of the film programs at UCLA and NYU, she holds a Masters degree in screenwriting from Loyola Marymount. She lives and writes in Los Angeles.
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Top customer reviews
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I'm currently using tips I've learned from this book on a current work in progress that has already been praised by industry insiders. I can't wait to see how they'll react after I've incorporated a few of Ms. Schmidt's advice into my work.
I highly recommend this book for beginners or those who believe they are "advanced." The truth is, none of us are "advanced writers." Regardless of our writing experience or success, every day we can choose to become better writers by adopting a humble, growth mindset. This book was written for that kind of writer, the ones who allow their characters and themselves to experience and conquer the path set before them.
I am really interested in character archetypes and this book cuts it. It is a great read, great conversation piece, and it really puts characters into perspective for budding writers.
Victoria Schmidt has done a wonderful job of putting this all together for a better understanding how to develop the journey of a hero or heroine's character arc to enhance and move a story along.
I recommend this book to new and intermediate writers.
45 Master Characters fixed that problem for me.
For example, I had a character who is a woman trying to advance in a company. I had muddled ideas of whether she should be using sex to try to get ahead, how soft or tough she should be, and how she should think.
45 Master Characters helped me see that she fell into the category of the Father's Daughter. An archetype exemplified by Athena, Captain Janeway and Murphy Brown. Once I knew this I was able to see that she would not use sex to get ahead, that she would be fairly tough minded, and that she would be independent. I dropped a family from her backstory, removed any thoughts of her using sex to get ahead and generally tightened my picture of her. Ironically, my backstory included significant influence from her father, so I was already seeing glimmers of the "Father's Daughter" archetype before the book made it clear.
Schmidt gives us the positive and negative for each Archetype. For example the Father's Daughter has a negative side called The Backstabber (Katherine Parker "Sigorney Weaver" in Working Girl)
The book is an essential part of an author's reference library.
One special feature of this approach is the delineation of the "Feminine Journey" as well as the "Masculine Journey". I wish I had had this resource when I wrote a paper comparing Joseph Campbell's _Hero of a Tousand Faces_ to Clarissa Pinkola Estes' _Women who run with Wolves_. I have used this approach in teaching my English classes especially with more "modern" stories that do not follow the hero path.
On a personal note, my friends and I have also sized each other up with the archetypes, and they have fit us very well. Anyone who is interested in archetype for teaching literature or in using archetype for writing fiction should check out this book. It is well worth the price.