- Paperback: 223 pages
- Publisher: Central Avenue Press (June 15, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0971534489
- ISBN-13: 978-0971534483
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,752,681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Growing Great Characters From the Ground Up: A Thorough Primer for Writers of Fiction and Nonfiction
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I read Martha Engber's "Growing Great Characters From the Ground Up" in one day. By page 60, I had a pencil in my hand, a notebook on my lap, and knew without a doubt that I would come away a better writer for having read her book. Yes, I was satisfied! And I may never look at gardening the same way again.
Ms. Engber separates Growing Great Characters From the Ground up into three parts: Part One - The Groundwork, Part Two - The Right Seed, and Part Three - Growth, Cultivation, and Care. Part One has three chapters that explore what a character is, how to gather ideas, and how to narrow your selection. Part Two has two chapters that deal with planting the right seed and letting it sprout. Part Three has eight chapters that teach you freedom to grow, growing with your character, first impression, cultivating credibility, revealing your character, and lastly opening your character to critique. The book is complete with eleven exercises so that you, whatever your level, can capture the essence of what Ms Engbers teaches long before you begin the first draft of your fiction or non-fiction work.
Although she advocates completing her book before you ever write that first draft, do yourself a favour if you're a write-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-writer, don't pass this book up. No matter your experience, there is a lot to be learned by reading this book. And if you're an old-timer who needs some inspiration because you've been looking at a blank screen for too damn long, know this: Read Ms Engber's book, try a few exercises, if not all eleven, and when you're finished and have applied what you've learned, I promise "[your]readers will understand what makes your character unique."
Martha Engber's book, Growing Great Characters From the Ground Up is destined to become a must-have for any writer keen on improving his craft and writing great characters. I highly recommend it. Now I'm off to rename my character.
Plot, schmot! Character rules and this book will focus your attention on it.
"Growing Great Characters From the Grown Up" is written as if by a close friend offering up some pointers. Its easy style and readability is a huge plus as one will be inclined to refer to it over and over again.
Martha Engber's approach is that of a good neighbor with a prizewinning garden who wants to share her secrets for success. She gives practical advise, warns against potential dangers and pitfalls, offers encouraging pats on the back and enlivens her work with lighthearted stories and perfectly chosen examples from familiar literary works. She uses the gardening comparisons that form the basic metaphor for the book in such creative ways that I found myself looking forward to the next chapter to see what parallel she would come up with next. I was never disappointed. When I begin my next novel, "Growing Great Characters from the Ground Up" will definitely be sitting on my desk along with "Elements of Style" and my dictionary. If you can't tell yet, I really dig this book!