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What Would Your Character Do?
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What Would Your Character Do?

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  244 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Get Inside Your Character's HeadJust how well do you know your characters?

Test yourself–and your characters–with 30 interactive pop quizzes designed to help you discover exactly what makes your characters tick.

Noted author Eric Maisel draws on his technical knowledge of the craft and his background in psychology to show you how to combine character traits, character psycho
Paperback, 279 pages
Published June 1st 2006 by Writer's Digest Books (first published January 1st 2006)
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3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  244 ratings  ·  13 reviews

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Lynne Favreau
Mar 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: writing
The first chapter of this book is so interesting I’m finding it hard not to quote the whole thing. Maisel, who holds degrees in philosophy (B.S.), psychology (B.A.), creative writing (M.A.), counseling (M.S.), and counseling psychology (PhD) discusses what a personality is, the traditional psychologist’s theories, clinicians and experimenters, and how little is actually known or provable from a scientific stand point about personality.

He asserts “Fiction writers have a leg up on psychologist wh
Dec 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Quick review for a quick read. Oh wow, this turned out much better than I expected. A practical guide to character personality that tests your character in a series of 30 scenarios with extended questions. Granted, it takes a little bit of creative stretching because the scenarios may not fit your characters (I tried three of my protagonists and side characters from the YA projects I'm working on, and suffice to say I had to skip a few descriptors/questions because they didn't really apply.)

Aug 24, 2008 rated it liked it
This was a fun book to mess around with, and it delivers on its title with several exercises designed to explore your character's actions. Each exercise proposes a situation, then follows up with questions about what your character would do in the given circumstances.

But I kept thinking the exercises were just a little light. If you really want to get the most out of this book, it seems you'll use the questions withing as a jumping off point, and brainstorm a lot more of your own. For me, it was
Jun 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
I love Eric Maisel's take on creativity. His book "A Writer's Paris" is really wonderful, whether or not you're a Paris fanatic or not.

This book offers a lot of different ways to examine your character and get to know him or her in a more in depth way. It's a pretty quick read and very useful.
Deirdre Cloke
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: for-writers
While the concept of this book is one that I really enjoy; and is the reason I bought it in the first place, I found there were almost more things I disliked about it than things I liked. However I will start with the pros of this book, and end with the cons.


Provides thirty different scenarios each with handful of questions in relation to said scenario. I feel thirty is a simply a a fair number of scenarios to include.

Gives info about what your character's thought process and personality
Apr 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: for-writing
I was pretty excited to find that my university carries this book. But the book itself wasn't as good as I had hoped. I read it from front to back, and there were 5 situations I particularly liked for the protagonist of the novel I'm currently working on. Mostly the others just weren't relevant, but I liked the amount of detail Maisel put into all of them.
There are 6 questions expanding every scenario, and then 5 options for each question. Each option is then given a brief relation to personali
Liz Alexander
Dec 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm a big fan of Eric Meisel and recently dug this book out of a batch I'd bought several years ago when thinking about writing a novel--but never, until just now, thought of using.

It's proven hugely helpful as I begin to reflect and refine the characters I've dreamed up.

This is a genius resource for novelists. Meisel--a licensed family therapist, creativity coach and trainer--offers 30 different scenarios in which your main characters might find themselves. Then he provides quizzes to identif
May 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Obviously, any book written with the intention of guiding a creative writer is limited to just that - guidance. This book acknowledges what it is and remains modest, loose and flexible in assisting writers with character development. Each scenario provides six questions with five options each, so there's plenty of variety and scope. It must, however, be taken with a pinch of salt and an open mind - no writer can rely solely on books like these, though their use in developing characters and scena ...more
Jun 04, 2008 rated it did not like it
I expected more. I should have spent more time looking through this at the bookstore - I was just so excited about the idea of "personality tests" for the characters in my novel. But it was more a series of questions - "What would your character be doing at a funeral?" Not something I couldn't think up on my own.
Abigail Singer
Mar 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fiction writers
Recommended to Abigail Singer by: Some BN Bookseller in Savannah
This book is greate for fiction writing. It gives personality quizes for your characters so you can get to know about them better.
Jan 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Excited to get to this book. I think it will help me flesh out characters and their story and back stories too.
Mar 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
It was fine. It didn't work for me though. And it is definately for adult or older teenage characters.
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Eric Maisel, Ph.D., is the author of more than 40 books in the areas of creativity, coaching, mental health, and cultural trends. He is a psychotherapist and creativity coach, and writes for Psychology Today and Professional Artist Magazine and presents workshops internationally.
“A writer sets up his own amazing experiment: his work of fiction.” 0 likes
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