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 imagination.
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-the 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 characters from a variety of sources
Make characters show who they are by the things they do and say, and by their individual "style"
Develop characters readers will love-or love to hate
Distinguish among major characters, minor characters, and walk-ons, and develop each 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
About the Author
Orson Scott Card is a novelist, critic, public speaker, essayist and columnist. He writes in several genres but is known best for science fiction. Card is the author of the international bestsellers Shadow of the Giant, Shadow Puppets, and of the beloved classic of science fiction, Ender's Game—which was adapted into a feature film. He is also the author of Seventh Son, the first book in the acclaimed fantasy series The Tales of Alvin Maker.
Hometown:Greensboro, North Carolina
Date of Birth:August 24, 1951
Place of Birth:Richland, Washington
Education:B.A. in theater, Brigham Young University, 1975; M.A. in English, University of Utah, 1981
Table of Contents
Part I Inventing Characters 4
Chapter 1 What is a Character? 5
A Character Is What He Does
Habits and Patterns
Talents and Abilities
Tastes and Preferences
Chapter 2 What Makes a Good Fictional Character? 19
The Three Questions Readers Ask
You Are the First Audience
Interrogating the Character
From Character to Story, From Story to Character
Chapter 3 Where Do Characters Come From? 32
Ideas From Life
Ideas From the Story
Servants of the Idea
Chapter 4 Making Decisions 54
Keeping a Bible
Part II Constructing Characters 61
Chapter 5 What Kind of Story Are You Telling? 62
The "Mice" Quotient
The Contract With the Reader
Chapter 6 The Hierarchy 76
Walk-Ons and Placeholders
Chapter 7 How to Raise the Emotional Stakes 87
Signs and Portents
Chapter 8 What Should We Feel About the Character? 96
Characters We Love
Characters We Hate
Chapter 9 The Hero and the Common Man 120
Chapter 10 The Comic Character: Controlled Disbelief 129
Doing a "Take"
Chapter 11 The Serious Character: Make Us Believe 137
Elaboration of Motive
The Remembered Past
The Implied Past
Chapter 12 Transformations 156
Why People Change
Part III Performing Characters 163
Chapter 13 Voices 164
Chapter 14 Presentation Vs. Representation 174
Chapter 15 Dramatic Vs. Narrative 182
Chapter 16 First-Person Narrative 186
Which Person Is First?
No Fourth Wall
Distance in Time
Chapter 17 Third Person 202
Omniscient Vs. Limited Point of View
Making Up Your Mind
Levels of Penetration
Chapter 18 A Private Population Explosion 226
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
There's nothing new in books about writing fiction, only on how they're presented. Some are written by academics and you need to be one to understand them. Others are written by authors who use them as a means of self-aggrandizement constantly quoting examples from their own work. These may not necessarily be good examples of what they're trying to demonstrate, but they're not about to let an opportunity to promote their work slip by. In Characters and Viewpoint, Card uses straight forward prose and not a lot of examples from his own work and gives good insight into these two important aspects of writing fiction. This is a solid book about what is stated in the title.
Well-written by a great science fiction writer. Very useful for other science fiction writers.
A very good text for Character Development, from an experienced fiction writer. Great for the beginner, or accomplished writer reviewing the basics. It covers what is necessary for good fictional novel writing.
An easy reading book. It's full of great material. I read it twice.