Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Writer's Guide to Character Traits” as Want to Read:
Writer's Guide to Character Traits
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Writer's Guide to Character Traits

by
3.89  ·  Rating details ·  1,161 ratings  ·  91 reviews
From Sex to Schizophrenia: Everything You Need to Develop Your Characters!

What makes a person commit a white-collar crime? Who is a likely candidate to join a cult? Why do children have imaginary friends? How does birth order affect whether or not a person gets married? When does mind over matter become a crippling problem?

Writer's Guide to Character Traits, 2nd edition a
...more
Paperback, 378 pages
Published September 1st 2006 by Writer's Digest Books (first published 1999)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Writer's Guide to Character Traits, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Writer's Guide to Character Traits

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,161 ratings  ·  91 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Rachel
Feb 18, 2013 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
Stereotypes exist for a reason; usually, because there's an element of truth to them. With The Writer's Guide to Character Traits, psychologist-professor Linda Edelstein has created a kind of Psych 101 for Writers. Her goal is a "friendly reference" for writers who want "to create believable characters and need accurate information about personality and behavior." Sure, disparage it if you like. But wouldn't you like to know which of your protagonist's offspring is most predisposed to warming up ...more
Kelly H. (Maybedog)
This was a good idea but completely useless. Nothing went into enough depth to be useful, but the biggest problem is that although it was written in 1999, most of the sources used were already out of date and obsolete then. She uses Masters & Johnson from the 60's for information about homsexuality. Info about BDSM comes from a book written in 1964 when it was still considered a bizarre thing only freaks did. Seriously? Research as shown that as many as 70% of women claim to participate in B ...more
Theodora
Mar 27, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who love canned characters
Recommended to Theodora by: on the shelf at the writers' colony
Shelves: books08, writing
This book really stunk.
Kathy Davie
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business, non-fiction
Edelstein calls this "a crash course in psychology for writers with information about personality and behavior to create believable and authentic characters".

My Take
I liked the differentiation Edelstein offers between character and traits. A good difference to keep in mind when creating your character while reminding the reader, er, I mean, the writer---you, that these groupings are not set in stone.

"Dorothy Parker was right: 'People are more fun than anybody.'"


While Edelstein remembers once in
...more
Josette
Jan 01, 2010 marked it as to-read
I've read only portions of this book, but it's not exactly the type of book you can read cover-to-cover. This book is good as a reference tool for writers, because it lists personality traits and disorders that various classifications of people have, which can help writers make their characters more believable. So far I've been disappointed with the amount of information the author lists. I'm sure there's only so much a journeyed psychiatrist can include in a book that covers character traits of ...more
Melannie
Dec 21, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, for a book published in 2004 it's certainly out of date and disgusting.

The section about mental disorders (and the questionably separate section about eating disorders) perpetuate basic stereotypes, and the paragraph-list on the habits of homosexual teenagers left many an eyebrow quirked.

In addition, the information is not synthesized or nicely put into a paragraph format for easy digestion. Instead it leaves bare-bones lists with little elaboration on the topics mentioned, as well as no ex
...more
Natalie Ciampichini
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: writing, nonfiction
Not a bad book if you've never taken a psychology class or two. I felt like the author covered a large amount of material but only superficially. I would have liked to see some discussion or examples of various psychological traits in famous characters to see how this knowledge could be applied. The only chapter that was really unfamiliar/helpful for me was the one on character personality types. Other than that, I was somewhat familiar already with the information on disorders and life stages/d ...more
Wendopolis
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received this book as a gift from my sister (signed!) and I've enjoyed reading it many times over the years. A valuable addition to any writer's library.
Hunter
Aug 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fiction writers
Shelves: writing
Good reference tool for creating more indepth characters, giving the writer the ability to think about the character's childhood influences and personality traits which define their actions and reactions today. Bullet-pointed and indexed to help with selection.

Naturally, there could be 200, 300 maybe 500% more careers, traits or disorders that could have been listed here, but these are good starter subjects for pointing you to where you may like to explore.

My copy was borrowed from the local l
...more
A. Roy King
May 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing, nonfiction
This "Writer's Guide to Character Traits" is a useful reference created by professional psychologist Linda N. Edelstein. Much food for thought here to help the fiction author add depth to characters.

Particularly useful is Chapter 2, "Adult Personality Types," which outlines the traits and interpersonal attributes of 23 personality types, such as the Adventurer, the Boss, the Conformist, the Dependent, the Eccentric, the Fall Guy or Girl, the Loner, the Man's Man, and the Ultra-Feminine.

I read ma
...more
Rae
Nov 18, 2012 rated it liked it
This book is more of a quick reference or jumping off point than an in-depth look. There's many lists and charts which make looking up aspects of a condition or disorder easy. Childhood and adolescence are covered as well as adulthood. In addition to various disorders and conditions the book covers group dynamics as well as body language and nonverbal cues. These sections make handy cheat sheets for any writer.

While many conditions and disorders are covered, none are covered in depth. However th
...more
Hey_jude
This book is perfect for any writer, and is by far the best character reference book I have stumbled upon. Inside are detailed chapters of all types of character traits plus numerous writing exercises that will help get into the mind of said character. I've never been so engrossed! A definite read for anyone who wants to create well rounded, eccentric characters instead of cardboard cutouts.
April Brown
Several stereotypes, not all correct.

A few good points in some places.

Looking forward to the publication of The BookShelf Muse.
Tom Bane
Apr 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Invaluable book for writers, I'll write a full review later...
Ms. Nikki
Sep 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-it-pb-or-hc
Not to be read as a fiction read in just 2 sittings. Helps build character profiles using certain stereotypes: the divorcee, the mentally ill, the abuser, and so on.
Eileen Troemel
Jan 13, 2019 rated it liked it
I'd really like to give this book a 3.5 stars but unfortunately I can't. Edelstein has organized this book well. It is easy to read and easy to find the information you are looking for. She covers adult, children (with two chapters) traits as well as others like criminal and psychological disorders. She's done a beautiful job organizing and putting this book in a logical and usable format. If an author is looking to create a character outline this is an excellent place to start. She covers other ...more
Robert Day
Sep 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
This could prove to be an invaluable tool to use when developing characters for more involved pieces of fiction. In addition to that it's pretty useful for giving an insight into the characters of the people around you and yourself. Of particular interest is the table on page 340 that shows the different traits of men and women when they are speaking to each other. This could well be the key to a happily married life for me - now and in the future.
Evalyn
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A psychological reference book that lists the traits, behaviors, and what influenced them in every type from "soccer moms to serial killers" - tool for writers creating characters and for anyone interested in human behavior. Thorough, clear, and concise - by Linda N. Edelstein, a Psychologist and professor of psychology. Re-read.
Scott Kinkade
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great resource for writers. Tells you how to write any kind of character, from happy teenage daughter to sick arsonist and everything in between. Edelstein has a strong grasp of every personality type. and it shows. I recommend this for anyone writing fiction.
Fredrick Danysh
One thing that the aspiring fiction writer must do is develop believable characters. This book analyzes human personality traits and gives advice on developing character traits. It covers a wide spectrum of traits.
Helen Hnin Oo Lwin
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is not a book you should read in one sitting.

People would argue that this book is too stereotypical. But if you use this book as the foundation and build on it, you can really build a well-written character with a lot of dimensions.
C. L. Phillips
A good tool for building realistic characters.
Mary Quire
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very informative.
Lindsay
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Some parts were useful. If anything, it can at least allow someone to brainstorm ideas.
Kaylene
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very helpful when writing and easy guide to follow.
Nathan Burgoine
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I come back to this book again and again.
Elizabeth
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An excellent reference for basic and advanced character building of a person's actions and the why behind them based in reality.

Recommended for everyone.
Roger Mendoza
Nov 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great reference book. It has helped me numerous times to sharpen up my characters.
Kathy Davie
Jul 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Edelstein calls this "a crash course in psychology for writers with information about personality and behavior to create believable and authentic characters".

My Take
I liked the differentiation Edelstein offers between character and traits. A good difference to keep in mind when creating your character while reminding the reader, er, I mean, the writer---you, that these groupings are not set in stone.

"Dorothy Parker was right: 'People are more fun than anybody.'"


While Edelstein remembers once in
...more
MCalhen
Jul 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
This book can help people figure out what they ought to research next in other books. And then people should find better books and references, because this is merely a guide. I see no issue in marking down a path of research if this is used like a roadmap. I give credit to books which leave you thinking, but aside from doing that, it relies too much on stereotypes, and it makes some outlandish claims.

I was particularly rankled with chapter six above anything else. Namely:

"Sadomasochistic sex i
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • What Would Your Character Do?
  • Bullies, Bastards and Bitches: How to Write the Bad Guys of Fiction
  • 45 Master Characters: Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters
  • Breathing Life Into Your Characters: How to Give Your Characters Emotional & Psychological Depth
  • The Writer's Digest Character Naming Sourcebook
  • Dynamic Characters: How to Create Personalities That Keep Readers Captivated
  • The Writer's Digest Sourcebook for Building Believable Characters
  • 20 Master Plots: And How to Build Them
  • The Writer's Complete Fantasy Reference: An Indispensable Compendium of Myth and Magic
  • Plot
  • The Writer's Idea Book
  • Police Procedure & Investigation: A Guide for Writers
  • Conflict, Action and Suspense (Elements of Fiction Writing)
  • Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook: Hands-On Help for Making Your Novel Stand Out and Succeed
  • World-Building
  • Creating Character Emotions
  • Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes
  • Description & Setting
See similar books…