- Series: Elements of Fiction Writing
- Paperback: 182 pages
- Publisher: Writer's Digest Books; 1st Printing edition (March 15, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0898799279
- ISBN-13: 978-0898799279
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 104 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #501,943 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Elements of Fiction Writing - Characters & Viewpoint 1st Printing Edition
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But in other axes, we can safely comment . . .
Axis 2: This book is written in Mr. Card's clear and engaging style. He is a very gripping writer and has thought out things and communicated them well.
Axis 3: This book has serendipitously helped me appreciate literature. Just last night, I saw Disney's "The Black Cauldron," and I was able to pick up the techniques and tools used to develop the story, which in turn has helped in my overall appreciation of literature.
Axis 4: The book has great organization, with each chapter being focused and succinct. Unlike many "Niagara Falls" chapters in other books, this one controls the information you get and illustrates the ideas with a hypothetical story.
Axis 5: The cover is very engaging--a stylistic and hip photo with cutout men hints at the books contents.
Axis 6: The binding has held up to my vicious pen attacks and rereads. Some books quickly blow apart and scatter like leaves, but not his one.
I have actually enjoyed reading this book, though it is a technical read, and that is incredible thing to do. Go Card!
This book is thorough and well constructed. The author explores, in depth, the construction of character, choosing the appropriate character type for your story, the devices of characterization, justification of motive, and character transformation (or lack thereof). Furthermore, the author explores points of view, a commonly overlooked area of fiction. He explains things like narrator voice and the pros and cons of each type of viewpoint. With third person limited, he goes so far as to explain the levels of penetration (this has to do with relaying a character's attitude via thoughts and emotions not spoken aloud) and the effective intermingling of these types as a device to raise the emotional stakes in your story. A lot of content is laid out in this book and the author explains everything in great detail and utilizes lots of well known examples to highlight his points in clear, easy-to-understand ways.
One of the reasons I bought this book is that I am currently writing my own novel and in the middle of my first revision, I got stuck. I started hating my story and I doubted my ability as a writer. Orson Scott Card equipped me with the knowledge to understand why I was stuck (I hated one of my protagonists) and what to do about it (reevaluate my character's motives, which will in turn make her transformation justified, and employ devices to make her more real). He shared some of his experiences as a published author and how things don't always go so well. Characters sometimes don't reveal themselves with ease. We have to discover them. After reading Characters & Viewpoint, I regained my confidence to do so.
Part two helps the reader construct the character based on the kind of story being told, considerations for creating supporting and minor characters as well as the protagonists. He talks about emotions, the hero, comic characters, and transformations. Part three introduces the important elements of voice, presentation, and person.
Illustrations from well known authors books and dramas back up the advice and suggestions Card presents throughout the narrative. I found the index extremely useful in helping me revisit those areas of particular interest or my weaknesses as I attempt to assimilate Card's suggestions into my own writing projects.
Orson Scott Card has packed a lot of definitive techniques for creating and developing character and viewpoint into170 pages. This is a book that should be on the reference shelf of anyone wanting to improve their writing skills as a fiction writer.