I’m ready to get to know my characters!
If you’ve been around my blog long enough then you probably know that I think great characters can save a weak book. If I can latch on to a character, I’m more likely to follow through to the end. That’s why getting the characters right in my novel is so important to me. This is part of the reason I decided to step back and really dive into the creation of my story (or pre-writing processes) before I write any more of my novel.
The more I study the craft, the more I realize how important this pre-writing time is, even for someone who has always considered herself a pantser.
As I work on creating my characters, I’ll be using several resources:
Characters, Emotion, & Viewpoint by Nancy Kress – This book I plan to read in full, before any of the others, since it’s all about character. Viewpoint has been a source of angst for me, so I can’t wait to see what’s in here. I’ve already skimmed through, and it looks like lots of valuable information inside, along with exercises (some of which seem a little scary, if I’m being honest). I’m starting this one tonight.
Writer’s Guide to Character Traits by Linda N. Edelstein, PH.D. – This book is one I will probably use throughout my writing as reference, but I think it will be a helpful tool in the pre-write process as well. This one breaks down personality types, traits, disorders, and more, giving example behaviors and characters. Like the book by Kress, this one also has some exercises to guide you to use the information in writing.
How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card – Card’s book is important, since the novel I am writing is in the fantasy genre. Chapter 3 is set aside for Story Construction, which begins with character information. This book will be useful to me later on as well when I get into world building, but for now I’ll be focusing on character.
Writing the Breakout Novel (Workbook) by Donald Maass – It’s a workbook, so there are exercises galore! Part 1 is devoted to character development, broken into multiple sections.
Story Trumps Structure by Steven James – I’m looking forward to reading this one in full when I start world building and working out the details of my story, but there is also a section on characterization that I want to read before then.
The Dance of Character and Plot by DiAnn Mills – I just ordered this over the weekend after watching DiAnn speak about writing. I share her belief that characters and plot are inseparable, and that a character’s choices must drive the story forward. I’m really looking forward to reading this, and I plan to do so right after I’m done with Kress’s book.
Are you writing? Are you working on your characters or are you beyond that point now? Do you like creating characters or is it the worst part of writing for you? Tell me struggles and victories.
2 thoughts on “Creation of Character”
This is a great list of books on character. I didn’t have Character Traits and Dance of Character & Plot, so I’ve ordered those.
‘Writing victories’ for me have usually been creating outlines, though I can pants a few stories when inspired. I like creating characters, but they’ve usually come out somewhat flat; my character and dialogue have always been spotty.
What would you recommend in terms of dialogue?
Hi Trey! I have yet to read any books on dialogue, but I have a couple on my radar for the future. They are “Write Great Fiction – Dialogue” by Gloria Kempton & “How to Write Dazzling Dialogue: The Fastest Way to Improve Any Manuscript” by James Scott Bell.
For me, outlining is a chore. Dialogue, on the other hand, I’ve always found comes to me easier than description and scene setting.
My goal is definitely to avoid flat characters. That’s why all this prep is important to me. It’s a long journey ahead.
Thanks for stopping by!