Elements of Fiction Writing
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Elements of Fiction Writing (Elements of Fiction Writing)

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  2,281 ratings  ·  207 reviews
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 imagination.

Award-winning author Orson Scott Card explains in depth the techniques of inventing, developing and presenting chara...more
ebook, 242 pages
Published December 1st 2010 by Writers Digest Books (first published 1988)
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Samir Rawas Sarayji
Characters & Viewpoint is another book by Orson Scott Card from the Writer's Digest Books that failed to impress. The book is 182 pages and is divided into 3 main sections, 'Inventing Characters', 'Constructing Characters', and 'Performing Characters'. Each part is, in turn, divided into smaller chapters.

The first part covers topics that are really for the novice writer, someone who never wrote fiction and one day decided he/she wanted to... It explains how characters can come from people yo...more
Not my cup of tea when it comes to writing advice. This WD book was very basic and most of the guidance on characterization is focused on creating characters before you start writing and not fleshing out those characters on the page. Toward the end of the book when Card does finally begin to address what happens to characters in the actual novel/manuscript he gets a bit preachy and theoretical and makes more than few statements that I do not believe are accurate around POV and tense.

Overall I f...more
I read this book at a point where I'd already read a couple dozen books, a hundred Writers Digest magazines, and a zillion web pages on writing. Upon reading this book, I was EMBARRASSED by how much I didn't know! Characters and Viewpoint is required reading for all fiction writers.
Characters and Viewpoint
By: Orson Scott Card
Writer’s Digest Books

Tools for Creating Vibrant Memorable Characters

In “Characters and Viewpoints” Orson Scott Card provides the writer with the tools for constructing colorful credible characters.

Card grabbed my attention as I scanned the table of contents. I immediately followed this by perusing the bold headings within the chapters.

The book is divided into three parts. Card begins with pointers on inventing characters, where they come from, potenti...more
This book has some good tips for anyone who wants to evolve their characterizations skills.

Unfortunately, the book is not crammed with such tips on every page. A lot of time is spent rehashing the same point over and over from several perspectives until your eyes start to glaze. It is possible that this would be helpful for a complete novice, but for someone who has already got a lot of this writing stuff figured out, it just comes across as a lot of fluff and filler. I will keep the book as a...more
Newton Tio Nitro
Personagens bem construídos é o segredo de qualquer narrativa que prende o leitor. Dentre os livros com dicas para escritores focado na criação e desenvolvimento de personagens na narrativa, Character and Viewpoint, do Orson Scott Card (o autor de Ender’s Game), é um dos mais famosos.

O livro está dividido em três partes, respectivamente, a Invenção de Personagens, a Construção de Personagens e a Representação de Personagens. Cada uma das partes é repleta de dicas para as diversas etapas da carac...more
Alex Sarll
I've just remembered that I read the noted homophobe's writing guide back in my early teens. Even then, I could tell that a lot of his advice was bollocks - I especially remember the bit about how erudite types were inherently unsympathetic, and a smart hero would have to punch a couple of guys for every time he demonstrated his brains. Yep, as demonstrated by the lamentable obscurity in which characters like Poirot and Sherlock Holmes have long languished, right? Pillock.
In this book, Card delved deeper into the subject matter than I've ever seen anyone do before. This is a book I think anyone serious about writing a novel ought to read. It's made even better by the fact that Card's insights apply equally to both literary and mainstream fiction.
Solid book on writing--

While some information is pretty basic and somewhat outdated (I'd have to disagree with the author's contention that the present-tense first person doesn't work), this book offers a whole range of invaluable advice on characters. The book is divided into three parts, not all of which provide the same quality of advice and information.

The first part has only some useful tips and advice, covering basic grounds like where we should get ideas for characters and naming them. Hi...more
Carlos Velez
Orson Scott Card writes really great characters. I've read a couple of his Ender novels, and another stand-alone novel called Empire and his characters are really smart and are able to dive into the psychology of the people around them. They understand people and why they are who they are, and why they do what they do. It is most certainly a reflection of the author's own understanding of the inner workings of himself and the people around him. He is able to take his life experiences and create...more
Veronica Morfi
Strong and believable characters are the essence of a good book! This book is the perfect guide on how to built this kind of characters. From the very simple things, like their personality to the more complex ones, like the reasons behind their acts, this book explains them all. It is well writen and easy to understand. It can help you create and develop the characters of your story.
I never thought that characters are the most important thing in a story, even if the storyline is not that strong...more
Ruth Jacobs
Aug 13, 2012 Ruth Jacobs rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Writers
Shelves: books-on-writing
Okay, so you know I'm an addict, I read a lot of books on writing, and I'm not done on reviewing them all yet. This was useful in helping me decide which viewpoint to write from and how best to do that. Also what mistakes to avoid making as well. Such as writing a whole novel in third person, when other things are occurring that the protagonist can't know about they cannot be mentioned. But there are clever ways certain things can be shown to the reader through the actions of other characters wh...more
This has got to be one of the best books about writing. It discusses characterization in depth, with practical tools you can actually use in your fiction.

Other articles I've read about characterization inevitably instructs you to create a complete profile about your character, sometimes giving you a form to fill out, with prompts like favorite color and such things, but they don't really show you how to make these details alive in your story.

Characters and Viewpoint shows you just that, how to...more
Michael Thorn
OSC dropping knowledge on me once again. I bought this for the information on characterization thinking I would skip the perspective sections, but I got sucked into it, and I am glad I did. The man knows his business, and the nuanced information on varying perspective to control the reader's experience in your novel is genius stuff. As usual, OSC gets to the heart of the matter without any wasted words. Knowledge is taken from his words and inserted directly into my brain. Every time I read one...more
Alex Ristea
Wow. This was the first I read in the Writer's Digest series, and the rest are eagerly awaiting me in my library.

If you're a writer, this is a must-read. Orson Scott Card explains key storytelling concepts so naturally that this is an absolute pleasure to read for its own sake.

I would recommend this even if you have no intentions of writing your own prose. You will have a better appreciation and understanding of narrative and characters after this book, and your reading will never be the same.
I graduated from college in English--and yet this is the best book I've read on how to write characters. I thought it was fabulous. I love many of Card's books, so it was also nice to see into his writing mind.
This book answered some questions I still had after doing a lot of reading on the craft. It explains use of tense, line spaces, and provides tons of info on viewpoint and creating characters that come to life.
Liz B
Clear and straightforward. I think this will be a great book to recommend to certain 8th grade readers. They are dying to write fiction, and this will give them some ideas for places to start.
This book helped me understand so much about the characterization process - I will return to it many times for reference. Incredible resource for fiction writers.
Mars Dorian
In-depth book about writing 3D, compelling characters that act interestingly and own a backstory that makes them feel real.

You learn about :
creating interesting back stories.
Making their speech compelling and yet believable.
using the right perspective at the right time (e.g. 3rd person limited)

Especially the section about viewpoints blew me away - I learned sooo much about when choosing the right perspective and the power of each. Orson goes deep and gives you excellent examples.

Highly rec...more
Characters and Viewpoint is a great writing reference for anyone who wants to learn about creating characters and understanding characterization. Orson Scott Card divides the book in three parts: Inventing Characters, Constructing Characters, and Performing Characters. Taking time to understand what makes a good fictional character, and planning out how characters work in your story is something every writer needs to consider. I also learned quite a bit in the third part about different types of...more
4.5 stars
When I picked up this book I only expected to learn a little bit from it. I doubted it would help answer all my questions.
What I got was most of my questions answered and other questions that I had related to writing fiction also answered in this book. I didn't expect this book to cover the topics to my other questions, such as styles of narrative.

The author does an excellent job of explaining and providing examples to what ideas he's presenting. Everything is clear and understandable....more
Maryann Spikes
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Orson Scott Card is the highly acclaimed author of Enders Game and many other great works. With the release of Characters & Viewpoints Mr. Card has generously opened his mind and let his knowledge spill forth unto the writing community.

Three parts separate Characters & Viewpoint: Inventing Characters, Constructing Characters and Performing Characters, and each part is comprised of various informative chapters. In part one: Inventing Characters, Orson Scott Card starts out with "What Is...more
Ho cercato di affrontare questo libro il più modestamente possibile, ma per buona parte ho arrancato. Dice ovvietà e ci si sofferma pure facendo molti esempi, alcuni generici scritti da lui, altri riferiti a film e libri che o ho già visto/letto, o devo ancora vedere/leggere (e in questo caso ho saltato per evitare spoiler), o così sconosciuti che neanche li ho mai sentiti nominare (e in questo caso ho letto ma non sempre sono sicuro di aver afferrato il senso).
Ad esempio, se mi dici che un pers...more
Why I bought it? I attended Card's writing class in the summer, and lots of students there had the book and kept referring to it thinking it was great.

Synopsis: This is one in a series of books on writing by different authors put out by Writer's Digest. Card goes into his theories about what makes characters compelling and the positives and negatives of different types of viewpoints.

What I thought? It was an excellent review of the course I took--more in depth with more examples. The thing that...more
I swore off all Orson Scott Card books but I already owned this one. It has been sitting on my bookshelf for at least a couple of years now, unopened, unread. Yet I knew deep down, that it would help my writing greatly.

Card proved with this book what a master he is at the craft of writing and how important understanding and observing human interaction is to good characterization. I walked away from this book with a deep DEEP knowledge of characterization, of approaches to character building. I s...more
Scott Lee
In this book (part of the elements of writing series from Writer's Digest) Card looks in depth at characterization and viewpoint. It IS a wonderful handling of these issues. It is NOT a complete writer's manual and a few times I was a touch frustrated because Card's advice led him to touch briefly on other areas of writing that I wished he'd discuss and then he pulled back to stay on subject. Darn his self-discipline!

Card is a well known believer in planning before writing. If not outlining (cav...more
Kathy Cowley
Overall, I loved this book on writing craft, which explores not just characters but also the way your character development intersects with plot, genre, and other factors that must be considered when writing.

My favorite sections were Part 1 (Inventing Characters) and Part 2 (Constructing Characters). It included great discussions of character's motive, habits, past, and networks. I liked the discussion of how characters' motives and attitudes translate into dialogue and action, what works and wh...more
I suggest that anyone pick this up if they have an interest in writing. Characterization is one of the hardest parts of writing. Even if you think you have it down, I am positive that you will pick something up from this book. A few chapters annoyed and frustrated me. Those were balanced out by the chapters that felt like epiphanies. There are a lot of references to other books, so some concepts aren't as easy to understand unless you have read those books. I had only read a couple of the books...more
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  • Scene and Structure (Elements of Fiction Writing)
  • Beginnings, Middles & Ends (Elements of Fiction Writing)
  • Plot
  • Conflict, Action and Suspense (Elements of Fiction Writing)
  • Description
  • Dialogue: Techniques and exercises for crafting effective dialogue
  • Description & Setting
  • Plot & Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot That Grips Readers from Start to Finish
  • Between the Lines: Master the Subtle Elements of Fiction Writing
  • Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time
  • Writing the Breakout Novel
  • The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide To Staying Out of the Rejection Pile
  • Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One & Never Lets Them Go
  • The Writer's Guide to Character Traits: Includes Profiles of Human Behaviors and Personality Types
  • Writing Dialogue
  • 45 Master Characters
  • 20 Master Plots: And How to Build Them
  • Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print
Orson Scott Card is the author of the novels Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, and Speaker for the Dead, which are widely read by adults and younger readers, and are increasingly used in schools.
Besides these and other science fiction novels, Card writes contemporary fantasy (Magic Street, Enchantment, Lost Boys), biblical novels (Stone Tables, Rachel and Leah), the American frontier fantasy series Th...more
More about Orson Scott Card...
Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet, #1) Speaker for the Dead (The Ender Quintet, #2) Ender's Shadow (Ender's Shadow, #1) Xenocide (The Ender Quintet, #3) Children of the Mind (The Ender Quintet, #4)

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