Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Creating Unforgettable Characters” as Want to Read:
Creating Unforgettable Characters
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Creating Unforgettable Characters

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  453 ratings  ·  51 reviews
In this book, Linda Seger shows how to create strong, multidimensional characters in fiction, covering everything from research to character block. Interviews with today's top writers complete this essential volume.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 15th 1990 by Holt Paperbacks
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 Creating Unforgettable Characters, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Creating Unforgettable Characters

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  453 ratings  ·  51 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
This book is primarily geared towards screenwriters (with some asides for novelists) and draws its examples from older movies and TV show. Which actually works well for me since I don't watch much TV these days.

Over all a pretty good reference.
Muath Aziz
May 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: film, 2015, borrowed, language
It covers characters in Films, Novels and even Ads. Full of helpful quotes from screenwriters and novelists.

Not as dense as her Making Good Script Great, there are many "this writer traveled to Africa to research his character and that writer lived among the Amish to understand them and that writer..." And so on but they are all interesting nonetheless.

It also discusses how characters are detailed in novels because that is still applicable. The book is bit boring especially that I have just fini
Amy Armstrong
Nov 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
Linda Seger offers a lot of good examples and exercises/questions to ask as you explore different aspects of your characters' personalities. She also provides good examples and explanations of how to use the information you glean through research in your book. More specifically, the better you know your characters, the more that will shine through in your story even if you don't use every detail you know.

The only reason I didn't give Creating Unforgettable Characters five stars is I have heard m
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing-skills
This was an extremely useful and informative book, packed with good advice. I'd recommend it strongly - to writers of films, TV series, advertisements, novels, plays, and short stories. In addition to the obvious it covers character relationships, non-realistic characters (including mythic ones), villains, and minor and supporting characters. A dense read, but well worth the effort.
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
Pretty basic, but well organised.
I skimmed through some parts.
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
Book is a little old-school, however some information was really useful. Most film examples are from the 1980s/90s cinema, maybe I had an old edition. Book misses most of the psychology of characters issue and gives some vague examples. There's an interesting chapter on character relationships. Generally, I think it should have more practical exercises and examples or questions for screenwriters to answer themselves as they start working on their own characters.
Corey Burton
Jan 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-on-writing
It's a good help, although a bit dated. Most of the familiar references(movies and TV) are from the late 70s and the entire 80s, like When Harry Met Sally, Moonlighting, Cheers, Who's the Boss, etc.; pretty much the decade before the book's publishing. I watched TV back then so I'm familiar with most of what was used as examples. Granted it would be nice to be familiar with these things but overall I don't think it's all that necessary. There were times, though, when I'd run into something I was ...more
A.H. Taylor
Oct 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've had this book, now, for many years...and always reference it when I need a good reminder of how vital it is to get down within a character that I am creating, to ensure that they carry their weight throughout the story.

Linda opens the reader up to explore the many facets of not only characters on the page, but the "characters" of our lives...including you and I. She makes many references to various sectors of character-driven media (i.e. - movies, television shows, etc.), which can all be a
Oct 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
This book has solid information on creating characters and also, and perhaps more importantly, solving character problems. Lots of great exercises in here for thinking characters through. The references are a bit dated (Out of Africa and Cheers are used as case studies), but the information is useful and accessible. Some parts are a bit dry, though.

Bonus points for including some stuff on advertising that I can use in my visual argument unit for comp.

I actually plan to buy this one and add it a
David Todd
Dec 15, 2011 rated it liked it
(lost my review somehow; here's a shorter version)
This is a worthwhile read for a writer at the beginning of their career, who wants to improve on their character development. Seger's examples were mainly from television programs in the late 1980s, none of which I watched. This limited the value to me. Also, she is more oriented to screen plays than to novels or short stories, which further limited the value to me, as I write novels not screen plays.

However, it's a good basic book for a beginnin
Gwendolyn Gage
Aug 10, 2012 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this writing craft book. Some parts of it were helpful and presented some very good ideas for those wanting to develop complex characters. But it also contained a lot of screen-writing comparisons (some offensive language in the dialogue), and I found it one of those books I had to read in peace and quiet in order to fully appreciate the concepts the author presented. It took me a long time to read it, but did learn some things about character development, including c ...more
Barbulescu Diana
Sep 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It's a general analysis of characters, showing us how to potray elivable characters, what's the difference between stereotypes and symbolic characters, what good dialogue is, how the same information written differently conveys different meanings. At the end of each chapter, there is an exercise to do.
I am a beginner in writing, got into it after NaNoWriMo and I've been looking for all help I can get. I believe this is a good book to have, but one must take their time to read it, not rush throu
Michael Murphy
Dec 28, 2013 rated it liked it
A good basic introduction to character development, although mostly from a television standpoint. Since this book was published more than 20 years ago, most of the examples come from late 80s TV shows and movies. That made it feel both dated and weird. The section on how to do research made me feel kind of nostalgic, as this book was written in the pre-internet age. Libraries? Newspapers? TALKING TO PEOPLE??? LOL. Still, a good intro to the topic, but there are better books out there (Nancy Kres ...more
Nov 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
I picked this book up as part of a class on the future of storytelling. I'll use this advice in planning and running roleplaying games, to build better characters. I thought that it had a lot of good advice (some of which seems pretty basic too me), but it seemed very solid, was presented logically and the chapters built on each other. This book was also written in 1990, which worked fine for me given my age, but may seem dated or obscure to younger people, particularly those born in the late 80 ...more
Karen Floyd
Jan 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
I came across this at my local library the other night, and figured that a little instruction wouln't come amiss. I was right. This is actually a rather thorough exploration of what makes people tick psychologically, as well as how to make characters you are writing about into living, believable humans. The book gave me some insights on myself, as well as many ideas on developing my characters. Highly recommended. (Not just a useful tool for writing; it will come in handy for my D&D characte ...more
Jared Barcelos
Feb 19, 2012 rated it liked it
At times I really enjoyed some of the tips and shared experience that this book had to offer, and at other times I felt out of the loop because of the large amount of references made to works that I had not read or seen. When the author was talking about characters from a film I'd seen, I felt like I was learning a lot, but that didn't happen often enough to warrant more than 3 stars for this book.
David Kent
Nov 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
A very useful book for those who are learning to write fiction. While the book and examples used are rather old (1990), the author offers valuable advice for how to create and flesh out multidimensional characters for film, television, and novels. In addition to discussions on consistency, backstory, psychology, relationships, and writing dialogue, Seger shows how to avoid stereotyping, how to develop supporting and minor characters, and how to solve the inevitable character problems.
Carrie Daws
Aug 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
I will agree with the many reviews that said this book was full of a lot of basics, but it is still a good reference and worth reading. While some of the information I scanned, other parts gave me fresh ideas. Perhaps it made the difference that many of the works she referred to were books, shows or movies I was familiar with. Either way, I made some highlights on my weaker areas so I can refer occasionally back to it to make sure I am becoming stronger and not overlooking laziness.
Gail Gibbs
Sep 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-on-writing
Creating Unforgettable Characters was written in 1990, and may appear dated. However, the films, television shows, and novels Linda Seger uses as examples have become classics, exactly because they are so character-driven. She also includes exercises and applications, making this book an excellent reference on character development, whichever medium the writer decides to use.
Apr 28, 2012 rated it liked it
This book was definitely more of a beginner's tool for fleshing out characters. It's well-written and a quick read, but I thought it would have a bit more depth than it did. I also didn't realize it was published in 1990, and I didn't have a background with some of the shows that Seger referenced repeatedly. That fact alone probably made it less helpful for me.
May 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I own all of Linda Seger's books and would highly recommend them to to anyone interested in a screenwriting career. Information is clearly presented and up to date. The bulk of the details in this book are slanted toward use in screenplays, yet the knowledge she shares could easily be used by novelist as well. Bottomline, you won't regret making the purchase.
I never thought there could be a use for unrealistic and one dimensional characters as protagonists. The book shows multiple examples of popular characters and character relationships, along with some very helpful exercises. This is definitely worth reading when it comes to character development.
Johnny Flora
Feb 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a great tool or refresher course for aspiring authors. As my recent quote states;
"Character and Plot, Character and Plot
Some authors have it and some do not
This I'll tell you brother
You can't have one without the other."
Jean Oram
Apr 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing-books
A solid book on how to develop your characters. Good for writers and probably actors as well.

Lots of information packed in this one as well as good strategies on how to get to the meat and bones of who your character is.
Christopher Weaver
Apr 10, 2014 rated it liked it
It was interesting. Im doing some creative writing in my free time. This book provided me a lot of information about character development. Unfortunately, some sections were geared more towards screenwriting than book writing. It was useful material, nonetheless.
Juan Camilo Velandia Quijano
Nov 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The way Linda Seger writes and explains everything is very helpful, she makes it look so easy. Her tools, stories and advices are really helpful, and the examples are quite clear and explained, with the screenwriter himself. Loved this book, a great tool.
Jul 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Though I'm not writing a novel or a script, I enjoyed reading Linda Seger's "Creating Unforgettable Characters." I would definitely take into account her points about character development if I ever write a script.
Oct 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: writing-books
A really good book on crafting characters. The book used mostly examples from TV shows I'd never seen, but explained the characters and situations well enough that I could follow along. Highly recommended.
Oct 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
I believe this book gave a thorough overview of what elements are important in creating characters. Although I wouldn't say that it is a guide that any aspiring screenwriter must read, it provides a good introduction.
Meghan Pinson
Feb 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Great chapters on research, backstory, and dialogue/subtext. Very useful for diagnosing & beginning to fix character problems.
« previous 1 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Development I used to hang out 1 3 Apr 23, 2015 10:42PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Dynamic Characters: How to Create Personalities That Keep Readers Captivated
  • What Would Your Character Do?
  • World-Building
  • The Plot Thickens: 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life
  • Writing Science Fiction & Fantasy (Writing Series)
  • The Writer's Guide to Character Traits: Includes Profiles of Human Behaviors and Personality Types
  • How to Write a Damn Good Novel, II: Advanced Techniques for Dramatic Storytelling
  • Creating Characters: How to Build Story People
  • Story Structure Architect
  • 20 Master Plots: And How to Build Them
  • Writing Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Setting: How to Create and Sustain a Sharp Sense of Time and Place in Your Fiction
  • Writing the Novel: From Plot to Print
  • Fiction Writer's Workshop
  • Making Shapely Fiction
  • 4 A.M. Breakthrough: Unconventional Writing Exercises That Transform Your Fiction
  • Writing for Emotional Impact: Advanced Dramatic Techniques to Attract, Engage, and Fascinate the Reader from Beginning to End
  • Aristotle's Poetics for Screenwriters: Storytelling Secrets from the Greatest Mind in Western Civilization
See similar books…

Dr. Linda Seger has a Th.D. in Drama and Theology, and created her script consulting business based on her dissertation project about the elements needed to make a script work. She explored the integration of Drama and Spirituality during her five years in seminary. She holds three M.A. degrees: Drama from Northwestern University, Religion and the Arts from Pacific School of Religion, and Feminist