- Series: Writer's Guide to Character Traits
- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Writer's Digest Books; 2 edition (August 9, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1582973903
- ISBN-13: 978-1582973906
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 85 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,453 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Writer's Guide to Character Traits Paperback – August 9, 2006
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About the Author
As a practicing psychologist, Dr. Linda Edelstein specialises in the development of professional identity, creative adaption and grief. She is also an associate professor at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and frequently presents at national conferences and workshops.
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Top customer reviews
The book does make a point. Take for example (this one I found in the first chapter) a mother who recently lost her son to an accident. While one mother may return to work and seem otherwise normal, another mother may break down completely and finds it interfering with her job and yet another mother may be upset, but she might try to talk it through with her friends and family but at work her grief may not interfere as greatly as the previous one. Yet they all share on thing: grief over the loss of a child.
Its the same with this book: not everyone will have all the traits listed, and not everyone will experience the traits to the same degrees (think of a sliding scale from 1-10 for example). The author specifically states that while this book gives us information she has personally seen, experiences or researched from reputable sources (and generally agreed upon in the field of psychology) this book is not meant to tell us how to write our characters or tell us who they are. This is mearly a handy reference guide, or a crash course of Psych 101, if you will.
In order for characters in movies and books to seem real is that they need to have a basis in reality; they need to seem real and react in a matter that also feels real. Even police units sometimes utilize a criminal psychologist to help catch "the bad guy". The expert psychologist is trained to help the police get into the mind of the criminal, what his habits and fears might be, the type of person his is - detailed information based on the criminals known "facts" or "elements".
This is why I love this book. While writers generally have a good sense of character, sometimes it helps to have a guide that helps one get into the mind of a certain type of person, relationship or criminal act. A writers job is still and has always been on the ability to create real characters a reader can related to. A character that is interesting, keeps us guessing and a person we want to know more about.
This book helps is a great starting point when creating a character. A writer will probably want to research more about a certain topic - for instance, if they have a certain mental or physical disease, additional research helps to paint the complete portrait of what life might be like for that person.
This book is extremely handy and really, really useful. Just remember, it does NOT create a character for you. It just tells you about what might motivate someone, or how people in general tend to react to certain events, be it aging, mental or physical trauma, love and relationships or whatever. FIVE stars. This deserves a place on my bookshelf for sure. Recommended for beginning writers, and those who need just a little push if you have a writer's block during the character creation process.