Creating Characters: How to Build Story People

( 7 )

Overview

A jargon-free manual on the basics of developing interesting fictional characters

Vibrant, believable characters help drive a fictional story. Along with a clever plot, well-drawn characters make us want to continue reading a novel or finish watching a movie. In Creating Characters, Dwight V. Swain shows how writers can invent interesting characters and improve them so that they move a story along.

“The core of character,” he says in chapter 1, “lies in each individual story ...

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Creating Characters: How to Build Story People

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Overview

A jargon-free manual on the basics of developing interesting fictional characters

Vibrant, believable characters help drive a fictional story. Along with a clever plot, well-drawn characters make us want to continue reading a novel or finish watching a movie. In Creating Characters, Dwight V. Swain shows how writers can invent interesting characters and improve them so that they move a story along.

“The core of character,” he says in chapter 1, “lies in each individual story person’s ability to care about something; to feel implicitly or explicitly, that something is important.” Building on that foundation—the capacity to care—Swain takes the would-be writer step-by-step through the fundamentals of finding and developing “characters who turn you on.” This basic but thought-provoking how-to is a valuable tool for both the novice and the seasoned writer.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
YA-- Young people seriously interested in creative writing will find this manual for developing fictional characters a rich source of detailed information. Students can browse through the 17 chapters, each titled and annotated, without reading the book from cover to cover. Swain talks to his readers in a conversational tone, suggesting techniques, giving examples to illuminate his points, and offering activities for sharpening character development skills. This is a book for those already committed to writing fiction and who want to think about the craft of writing.-- Joyce H. Jones, Mount Vernon High School, Alexandria, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780806139180
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 716,024
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Dwight V. Swain spent a lifetime writing newspaper and magazine articles, pulp fiction, and screenplays. For more than twenty years he taught in the Professional Writing Program at the University of Oklahoma. His popular books, Techniques of the Selling Writer and Creating Characters: How to Build Story People are published by the University of Oklahoma Press.

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Table of Contents

Preface
The Core of Character     1
Searching Out Your Characters     5
Labels, Labels     15
Fleshing Out     21
The World Within: 1     33
The World Within: 2     39
The Breath of Life     53
Bent Twigs     61
Wild Cards     76
The Role of Roles     88
The Light Touch     108
The Right Words     128
The Things They Say     137
Variations on a Theme     146
The Character Out of Time     157
The Dynamics of Disbelief     169
The Search for Zest     182
For Further Reading     187
Index     189
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

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(5)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

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2 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 21, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Starts out well

    This book starts out well but becomes dissappointing. Too much description and often not enough information about the creating and building of character. An example is Love Character. One small descriptive paragraph. This book does not live up to its title nor its sub title.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 5, 2009

    A Book That Makes You Want To Write

    I tend to believe that, sometimes, reading about writing is a way to avoid writing. A book like this puts that fear to rest. It is well worth the time. If you are having problems with a character, this book will give you the tools to help solve it. The time you save will more than compensate for the time spent reading. And it's a joyful and exciting book! You'll come away with so many ideas you'll WANT to write. Can't recommend it enough!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2013

    Hazelstar

    Good!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2013

    RD

    Wow... very well written. I feel so bad! But please continue!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2013

    Dawnwillow of Ashclan

    Its fgreat so far!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2013

    Lightnings journey.....Part 1

    The wind rushed through the leaves and every step was like thunder. A flash of white shot forward and hooked a mouse on their claw. They ran off quickly, covering their trail and scent carefully. "You crossed the border again!" A concerned yet angry hiss sounds. "Lighting, how many times have I told you not to!?" Lightnings head drops. "Im sorry Wind. But no food was to be found here!" Wind shakes her head. "You know i care about you lightning, thats why i don't want you to leave!" Lightning nods. "I care about you to wind. But thats why i go. So that i can get food to help you live." Wind sighs. "Than next time, at least bring me or Storm." Lightning nods. Of course. He nudges the mouse to her then leaves the hollowed log and enters a nearby cave, pushing through the vines hiding it and curls up in his nest. The sun woke him later. He padded to Storms den, a small sheltered alcove. There was no sight of her. "Storm?" He exits and heads to winds nest. "Wind?" Her scent was fresh. He followed, the scent slowly faded as he passed through thicker undergrowth. But were was the other two scents? He then felt a fkash of recognition. "Fox!" He ran forward. There was Storms scent. Blood was strewn on the ground were he stood. "No!" He kept running. A lifeless cat lay nearby. "Wind!!" He screamed. A fox jumped out snarling. Theor jaws snapped right by his throut. But a flash of gray fashes and Storm was there, claws in the foxes throut. "Hi lightning. I guess i got to save your life after all." Storm was always trying to prove her worth seeing as they met when lightning saved her life. Lightning smiles a little untill noticing a large gash on her underbelly. "I wonder if i'll go to the upper forest." Storm murmers, growing weak. "No! You cant! Dont leave me on my own!" Lightning yowls. Storm draws in a shakey breath. "B-bye Lightn-ning" A final breath is taken then she lies still. "No!" Lightning sad yowl sounds. "Over here!" A toms vioce sounds. Lightning jumps up, startled at the sudden appearance of a patrol. "Intruder!" A black she cat hisses. "Look! A fox!" A ginger and white she yells. Lightning does nothing but then looks at the cats, hiss eyes dull. "Let me leave. I have no reason to be here. Let me leave with my friends." The tom who first saw him looks at Storm and Wind. "They should have known better then to flee into lightclans territory." Lightning hisses. "They were chased here! You think thy wanted to be here!?" The ginger calmly replies. "We wish you no harm, but you are an intruder. This must be left to Froststar." The tom shoulders lightning forward. "Move!" Lighting stands and does as said. He looksback one last time at the clearing in which his friends lie, before turnng away. Ready to face any consequences.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews

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