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45 Master Characters Hardcover – 29 Sep 2001


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Writer's Digest Books; 1 edition (29 Sep 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582970696
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582970691
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 16.1 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,256,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Victoria Schmidt is a screenwriter for film and television. A graduate of the film programs at UCLA and NYU, she holds a Masters degree in screenwriting from Loyola Marymount. She lives and writes in Los Angeles.

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I wrote this book for every writer who has ever felt weighed down by the rules of fiction writing. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Bibliomaniac on 19 Oct 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book claims to be a comprehensive survey of basic character types. It's certainly a useful springboard to developing a character, and is especially good at describing how different character types might interact. But it's not as comprehensive as it claims, and suffers from a sexist, feminist bias.

The sexism is apparent from the beginning, as the two main sections of the book are "male characters" and "female characters", even though several character types appear in both sections. Of the ones that aren't duplicated... Apparently the author believes that a man can pursue wealth and power for their own sakes, but a woman can't. A woman can be gentle and free-spirited, but a man can't. A man, simply because he's a man, can never understand persecution or oppression.

The book ends with a description of two basic story types, which I would call plot-driven or external, and character-driven or internal. She prefers to call them "male" and "female", as though only men can have adventures and only women can experience inner change. However, the story types themselves are well thought out and nicely described.

If you are prepared to overlook this bias, and willing to search both male and female categories to find the type you're looking for, then this book can be a useful starting place for developing original characters. We all have a tendency to settle into a comfort zone, writing about the sort of people we know and like ourselves. This book can help you think about characters you might not come up with easily on your own. A very helpful feature is the hints about how different character types are likely to interact, which may well spark off ideas.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Tony Jones VINE VOICE on 9 Feb 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Echoing other comments about the gender polarisation, I also struggled badly with the completeness of this book. Rather than start with a set of key roles and then take these into a male/female context, it covers ground with no justification as to choice (or much debate on what is a non-master character).

Some of the content is of some use, but the whole book is little more than a large padded out essay
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Jean Christine Finch on 20 Jan 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was extremely useful in showing you how to create master characters. It went into easy to understand detail .
I chose the five star rating because I wanted the readers to know just what a fantastic book it is and to let them know about the fast and courteous delivery.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alexandra on 2 Dec 2011
Format: Paperback
I found the character types described very stereotypical. Perhaps her paradigm is too much 'American movie' for me as a European-African to appreciate, but I found this book a disappointment.
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37 of 52 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 8 Jan 2002
Format: Hardcover
I love this book. It's sharp, snappy and informative. The author transmits an enthusiasm for her subject that's hard to miss. Although the characters seem to be 'on a plate' for the reader, my experience is that they become more real when I practise (ie. watch or read and then identify the character type). I'm not sure the use of mythological names is necessary, but they do act as labels - albeit not-completely-memorable labels if you are not familiar with them. I'm already using some of the characters 'templates' within my current work. Wish me luck?
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