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Write Great Fiction: Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint : Techniques and Exercises for Crafting Dynamic Characters and Effective Viewpoints (Inglese) Copertina flessibile – 15 mar 2005

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4.0 su 5 stelle How to build characters with depth and appeal 22 novembre 2016
Di Bernie Gourley - Pubblicato su
Formato: Formato Kindle Acquisto verificato
This book is about how to write characters with sufficient depth that readers will follow them through to the end of a story. As the title suggests, there are three major components to the book: character building, emotional considerations, and point of view. A story requires a character who needs or wants something and faces barriers to that goal. The character has to be someone that the reader is interested in seeing through a process that involves inching toward a goal while being repeatedly beaten back. This doesn’t mean the character has to be likable, but if the character is unrealistic and uninteresting readers won’t get far. (In other words, they don’t have to like the character, but they do have to feel some sort of way about them.) Facing barriers to one’s goals creates emotional states that must feel authentic. If a character doesn’t respond emotionally to events, then the story is likely to feel flat (unless one has built a hilarious Sheldon Cooper-like character on purpose.) The perspective from which the reader learns of events is critical because it determines what information the reader is privy to, and—in particular—information about thoughts and emotions that are sometimes falsely portrayed.

Of the sixteen chapters that comprise the book, the first seven explore character development. Chapter 1 describes character in terms of general types. The book goes on to discuss the importance of how one introduces key characters. The next three chapters drill down into the challenge of building an authentic character: 1.) What is the character like deep down? 2.) Are the motives of the character clear-cut or complex? 3.) How can one show that the character has changed over the course of the story, and, if they don’t change, will the reader be satisfied? Chapters 6 and 7 investigate specialized types of characters (i.e. genre characters such as in romance, mystery, thriller, or sci-fi [Ch. 6] and in humor [Ch.7.])

Chapters 8 through 11 examine emotion and how it’s conveyed to the reader. The means by which writers communicate emotion include: dialogue (Ch. 8), metaphor, symbolism, and sensory experience (Ch.9.) Chapter 10 delves into special cases that are common in fiction but which require unique consideration (love, fighting, and dying.) Frustration has its own chapter (Ch.11,) and that may seem odd, but one must remember that a story is one barrier after another being erected in the way of the character’s pursuit of his or her objective.

The next four chapters present information to help the writer evaluate different approaches to viewpoint. Not only are there various pros, cons, and considerations one must take into account when deciding upon viewpoint, each approach has a several variations. The first of these chapters (Ch. 12) outlines the broad-based considerations. The next three chapters deal with first person (Ch. 13), third person (Ch. 14), and omniscient points of view (Ch. 15,) respectively. (The rarely used 2nd person point of view is also discussed briefly, but largely as a warning.) The last chapter explores how to make it all work by way of what Kress calls the “fourth persona.” Early in the book, one is told that the writer must simultaneously embody three personas (i.e. the writer, the character, and the reader.) Kress’s “fourth persona” is that of the critic, and it becomes necessary once one has drafted a story and character.

The book has a few extras. At the end of each chapters there are several (usually 4 to 6) exercises to help writers understand the concepts through practice. The chapters each have summaries, and at the end of the book there’s a summary in the form of a checklist. That is about it for ancillary features. There are a couple graphics in the form of pictures of a “mini-bio” and an “emotional mini-bio.” These are single page fill-in-the blank summaries that help one build a character that has depth and an authentic feel.

I found this book to be interesting and educational. The writer uses examples from a number of popular commercial and literary fiction authors. There’s no real need to be familiar with any particular author, but being familiar with them might present one with additional insights. The book is readable.

I would recommend this book for writers of fiction.
5.0 su 5 stelle I found this book to be very useful at helping me work through some issues with the ... 14 marzo 2016
Di joyous - Pubblicato su
Formato: Copertina flessibile Acquisto verificato
I found this book to be very useful at helping me work through some issues with the characters in my novel. The relatively narrow focus means Kress can delve deeply into each of the issues she covers. The first seven chapters are about deciding and showing who your characters are, including how their outer presentation might not match their inner thoughts, and how they might (or might not) change over the course of the book. I appreciated the level of detail here. I thought I had a pretty good handle on my main characters, but every chapter encouraged me to think about something new, or in more depth than I had before. The middle four chapters deal with how to think about and then show your characters' emotions. This time around, I especially appreciated the chapter on how different types of people respond differently to frustration, and how to express that for your main characters. This is key for just about any story, since whatever it is your characters want to achieve, if they got it easily you'd have a short book! The last four chapters go into wonderful detail about point of view strategies. I appreciated how the author gave the pros and cons for each type, including which are currently more popular, without coming down hard on either a literary or a commercial stance. That is, she never says, "This is better, and you should do it this way," but instead says, "If you decide to do it this other way, you should know what difficulties you'll face."

Throughout the chapters, Kress uses examples very effectively. When she refers to classic characters, she usually uses several, so that if you haven’t read all of the same books, hopefully you recognize at least one or two (she also describes them). If you haven't read any of the books, you'll be at a disadvantage. But I'd think reading a synopsis online would give you enough of an idea of, say, Anna Karenina or Mr. Darcy to understand what Kress means.

Since this is a book that I already know I'll be going back to again and again, I appreciate how well-organized it is, with clear sub-section headings within each chapter so you can quickly find the part you want to re-read. At the end of each chapter, Kress gives a recap of the chapter and includes several exercises to try. I didn't see much point in the recaps, but they didn't take up much space. The exercises were hit and miss. I usually don't actually do exercises anyway, but I like to think them through. When the exercises were specific to the characters in my WIP, they made the most sense to me. And some of the exercises about observing others' behavior (e.g., in public, or interacting with friends) and thinking about how that applies to writing were also interesting. However, many of the writing exercises were completely unrelated to the reader's WIP characters and seemed off-track; presumably anyone reading this book wants to apply it to a current project.

Overall, it's a great craft book, and I would definitely recommend it.
2 di 2 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle Improving Your Chances 12 giugno 2013
Di Ralph White - Pubblicato su
Formato: Copertina flessibile Acquisto verificato
Your first highly selective handful of query letters to literary agents resulted in a few boilerplate turndowns. Most agents didn't even respond. Your second tier choices produced more turndowns and more non-responses. Your third barrage of tree saving groveling hit everyone on the AAR membership list. This produced four or five requests for partial manuscripts from entry level staffers. The responses went roughly as follows: your characters are not believable; your characters have no feelings; your characters have no emotions; their actions are inconsistent with their characters; they are not empathetic; the reader simply doesn't care. You, dear writer, are ready for Nancy Kress's "Write Great Fiction - Characters, Emotion, & Viewpoint," published by Writer's Digest Books.

You will learn, perhaps for the first time (as this reviewer did) how compelling fiction gets so compelling. The epiphany: the reader experiences the world through someone else's mind. It is fiction, and only fiction, which creates this illusion. These other-mind experiences are the soul of the writer's craft, yet they are the most neglected by novice writers. Ms. Kress will show you how to develop a strong sense of your characters' pasts. She will convince you that it is your character's story, not yours. You will learn the importance of frustration to character and to plot, and that the main expression of frustration is action. You will learn how to create characters who change and those who don't, and how to "validate" characters' permanent changes. You will learn how character change must come only in response to scenes you've crafted into the story. You will learn to start with mini bios for your characters to serve as templates. Eventually the mechanics will become second nature.

Master the lessons; do the chapter-end exercises, create mini bios, and put yourself into the character's head. Then edit better characters into your manuscript and try again with the literary agents. Your chances will have improved.
2 di 2 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle Good Coverage of Character Development 16 maggio 2013
Di Ron - Pubblicato su
Formato: Formato Kindle Acquisto verificato
I am new to writing, although I have wanted to write a book for many years... Just not the time or motivation to do much beyond getting started. I always bogged down on dialog and character development. I did the National Write A Novel in A Month (NaNoWriMo) last fall and surprised myself in actually finishing the 50,000 word effort. ... Then I started the editing process on the first draft and found that - not to my surprise - it needed a lot of work to take it from (very) rough to something like a good second draft.

That is where this book on character development comes in. I bought it to help me find my way through quite a bit of needs that an edit of my rough draft uncovered.

Nancy Kress's book on character development was helpful. And IS helpful, because there are more drafts to do after I finish this first edit! I recommend this book (the one being reviewed, not mine, ha! ... At least not YET).

The book by Nancy Kress is part of a series on writing, and I can recommend them all. Good perspectives for the developing writers out there! Check them out! If you are browsing the Amazon site, you will see the others in the series recommended somewhere in the Amazon write up on the book
2 di 2 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle 4 In the series- Helps Any Writer a lot 11 luglio 2013
Di Darla - Pubblicato su
Formato: Copertina flessibile Acquisto verificato
I'm a fan of the series set.
This book above the rest opened my own personal style of writing, and method to an alternative option.
It's not all about characters say and do what.
It's about giving background story and living essence into a written character...
This book combined with the Author who writes "How to write a Damn Good...."???" series, really accompanied each other well.
Both taught me that it's a lot of prep-work, and most of what you write for yourself won't be published in what you hand over to a publisher for book read, but in doing all the pre- character design work, the essence in what stems from knowing your own story character in and out, will flow onto the pages. I've already tried the letter to (me the writer) method; background phobias and detailing out childhood reasons why later as an adult someone reacts in a situation the way they do....its great!
Purchase the book, you won't be disappointed.