Elements of Fiction Writing - Characters and Viewpoint: Proven advice and timeless techniques for creating compelling characters by an award-winning Author

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Overview

Vivid and memorable characters aren't born: they have to be made.

This book is a set of tools: literary crowbars, chisels, mallets, pliers and tongs. Use them to pry, chip, yank and sift good characters out of the place where they live in your memory, your imagination and your soul.

Award-winning author Orson Scott Card explains in depth the techniques of inventing, developing and presenting characters, plus handling viewpoint in novels and ...

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Overview

Vivid and memorable characters aren't born: they have to be made.

This book is a set of tools: literary crowbars, chisels, mallets, pliers and tongs. Use them to pry, chip, yank and sift good characters out of the place where they live in your memory, your imagination and your soul.

Award-winning author Orson Scott Card explains in depth the techniques of inventing, developing and presenting characters, plus handling viewpoint in novels and short stories. With specific examples, he spells out your narrative options&#150the choices you'll make in creating fictional people so "real" that readers will feel they know them like members of their own families.

You'll learn how to:

  • draw the characters from a variety of sources, including a story's basic idea, real life&#150even a character's social circumstances
  • make characters show who they are by the things they do and say, and by their individual "style"
  • develop characters readers will love&#150or love to hate
  • distinguish among major characters, minor characters and walk-ons, and develop each one appropriately
  • choose the most effective viewpoint to reveal the characters and move the storytelling
  • decide how deeply you should explore your characters' thoughts, emotions and attitudes
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780898799279
  • Publisher: F+W Media, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/28/1999
  • Series: Elements of Fiction Writing Series
  • Pages: 182
  • Product dimensions: 5.95 (w) x 8.97 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author

Orson Scott Card
Orson Scott Card
With a raft of science fiction awards and a dedicated following, Orson Scott Card writes imaginative and compelling novels that also explore questions about morality and religion. His Ender series is the most popular; but he also offers a fresh take on the Bible in his Women of Genesis books and has authored other history-based fantasy series.

Biography

Any discussion of Orson Scott Card's work must necessarily begin with religion. A devout Mormon, Card believes in imparting moral lessons through his fiction, a stance that sometimes creates controversy on both sides of the fence. Some Mormons have objected to the violence in his books as being antithetical to the Mormon message, while his conservative political activism has gotten him into hot water with liberal readers.

Whether you agree with his personal views or not, Card's fiction can be enjoyed on many different levels. And with the amount of work he's produced, there is something to fit the tastes of readers of all ages and stripes. Averaging two novels a year since 1979, Card has also managed to find the time to write hundreds of audio plays and short stories, several stage plays, a television series concept, and a screenplay of his classic novel Ender's Game. In addition to his science fiction and fantasy novels, he has also written contemporary fiction, religious, and nonfiction works.

Card's novel that has arguably had the biggest impact is 1985's Hugo and Nebula award-winner Ender's Game. Ender's Game introduced readers to Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, a young genius faced with the task of saving the Earth. Ender's Game is that rare work of fiction that strikes a chord with adults and young adult readers alike. The sequel, Speaker for the Dead, also won the Hugo and Nebula awards, making Card the only author in history to win both prestigious science-fiction awards two years in a row.

In 2000, Card returned to Ender's world with a "parallel" novel called Ender's Shadow. Ender's Shadow retells the events of Ender's Game from the perspective of Julian "Bean" Delphinki, Ender's second-in-command. As Sam to Ender's Frodo, Bean is doomed to be remembered as an also-ran next to the legendary protagonist of the earlier novel. In many ways, Bean is a more complex and intriguing character than the preternaturally brilliant Ender, and his alternate take on the events of Ender's Game provide an intriguing counterpoint to fans of the original series.

In addition to moral issues, a strong sense of family pervades Card's work. Card is a devoted family man and father to five (!) children. In the age of dysfunctional family literature, Card bristles at the suggestion that a positive home life is uninteresting. "How do you keep ‘good parents' from being boring?" he once said. "Well, in truth, the real problem is, how do you keep bad parents from being boring? I've seen the same bad parents in so many books and movies that I'm tired of them."

Critical appreciation for Card's work often points to the intriguing plotlines and deft characterizations that are on display in Card's most accomplished novels. Card developed the ability to write believable characters and page-turning plots as a college theater student. To this day, when he writes, Card always thinks of the audience first. "It's the best training in the world for a writer, to have a live audience," he says. "I'm constantly shaping the story so the audience will know why they should care about what's going on."

Card brought Bean back in 2005 for the fourth and final novel in the Shadow series: Shadow of the Giant. The novel presented some difficulty for the writer. Characters who were relatively unimportant when the series began had moved to the forefront, and as a result, Card knew that the ending he had originally envisioned would not be enough to satisfy the series' fans.

Although the Ender and Shadow series deal with politics, Card likes to keep his personal political opinions out of his fiction. He tries to present the governments of futuristic Earth as realistically as possible without drawing direct analogies to our current political climate. This distance that Card maintains between the real world and his fictional worlds helps give his novels a lasting and universal appeal.

Read More Show Less
    1. Hometown:
      Greensboro, North Carolina
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 24, 1951
    2. Place of Birth:
      Richland, Washington
    1. Education:
      B.A. in theater, Brigham Young University, 1975; M.A. in English, University of Utah, 1981
    2. Website:

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2005

    dated

    When this book came out, it was one of the few to go beyond the basics and to do it in a clear, useable way. Today, a number of books have gone beyond this book on the problem of characterization, so the book is dated. And since the book is very brief, it is not as in-depth as the title makes it appear. The discussion of point of view follows the all-too-familiar pattern of listing the possibilities and discussing each one. First person and third person are the two main categories, with omniscient, limited omniscient, and shifting as subheads. Only a few words about the advantages of each and these are the same found in most introductory books on fiction writing. You want to use the most effective point of view, so you¿ll need to get another book to tell you which those are and to show you why. Still, if you¿ve read only an introductory book on fiction writing, this might be a good next step.

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    Posted December 20, 2009

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    Posted April 30, 2010

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    Posted May 11, 2009

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