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Characters and Viewpoint (The elements of fiction writing) Paperback – Aug 1999


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Product details

  • Paperback: 182 pages
  • Publisher: Writer's Digest Books; New edition edition (Aug. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898799279
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898799279
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.1 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 208,080 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Orson Scott Card is the multi-award winning and bestselling author of a number of ground-breaking adult SFF novels. Ender's Game is his first YA cross-over novel in the UK.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
THE CHARACTERS IN YOUR FICTION are people. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By P. Holmes on 7 Aug. 2002
Format: Paperback
Having just finished reading this excellent work, I then had the opportunity to watch a couple of movies that I have seen before, and was surprised to see many of the techniques detailed in the book used on screen, where it was now noticable to me that they could have been done a lot better, had the director taken the time to read a book on writing...
Orson Scott Card has laid out the character techniques used in books and in places how they overlap with movie techiniques to help the writer create believable characters and how the writer can use these techniques in order to help the reader immerse themselves into the book rather than focus on the fact that they are reading a book (or watching a movie or a play), unless that is indeed what the writer is trying to accomplish.
I learned a great deal about a number of tools that can be used in writing, and would recommend this book to anybody who writes - be it fiction or not. I'll be sure to be using some of these techniques in my normal day to day life now that I know they exist and know how to apply them.
This is much more than just a book on writing - its a great tool in learning how to get across an idea or topic to any form of audience.
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59 of 60 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Mar. 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Often, when reading "how to" books, I find myself flicking ahead to the end of the chapter, to find out how many more pages of tedium I have to suffer before reaching the next milestone.
Not so with this. It actually gripped me - extraordinary for a book on technique! Card's writing is so engaging and informative that it's a joy to read.
Compared to other books I've read in this area, it's brimming with ideas that are accessible and usable. Having finished it yesterday after reading it in two sittings at breakneck speed, I may not remember every detail but I feel I have a lot more insight into fictional characterisation and viewpoint than I did before... I've read other books on creating characters, but this really showed how and why, instead of giving me glib checklists and long, dry discussions of other peoples' work.
Another refreshing change is that, as well as giving you the tools to create characters, Card also offers advice on when deep characterisation is (in)appropriate. His MICE (Milieu, Idea, Character, Events) quotient - something I first met in his "How to Write SF and Fantasy" book - helped me think about my work in new ways.
The final part of the book is about viewpoint. It's much shorter than the characterisation section, and I thought "Oh, a minor part tacked onto the end". I was wrong: he gives an excellent analysis of viewpoint. I thought I understood this pretty well before... perhaps I did, but in any case I understand it better now :-)
I have no doubt that I'll return to this book again and again, but on a single reading all I can say is: if you're an aspiring writer, you could do a lot worse than to get this!
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 19 Sept. 2000
Format: Paperback
There are never enough stars for Card books, and this is no exception. Card points out, not only the big and important things about creating characters, but also the small niggling things that give your character just that...character. He also deals with Viewpoint, a decidedly irritating topic, very well. Examples throughout the text help illustrate points, and the book is written in such a way that it could be helpful to English students as well as aspiring writers!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Screenwrite1 on 20 Jun. 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a professional writer and reader for a film company my overwhelming criticism of the material I receive lies in a fundamental misunderstanding of both character motivation and narrative point of view. If you feel that this is a weakness in your own writing I urge you to beg, borrow or steal this book.

It is not a tome, like many of the so-called "how-to" books, nor does it need to be as the author has a gift for distilling the essence of good writing: always remembering your contract with your reader. Whether this is the general public, your friends and relatives or the gatekeepeer at a major publishing house or prod. co, you need an understanding of the effect your stories and characters will have on your audience. Orson Scott Card takes you through the importance of motivation, the effect different kinds of characters have on the audience, and the importance of detail in creating a realistic and believable world inside your story. The section on viewpoint is incredibly comprehensive, enabling you to make an informed choice about the correct point of view for your particular story, making it the most powerful it can be for the structure, philosophy and effect you want to create within your reader. These are not random choices, something which the new writer, especially, needs to have drilled into them emphatically.

The quality of the writing in this book is reflected in the high standard of the examples the author gives; his own prose is entertaining, affecting and clear. I think this would be a marvellous guide to have with you when you already have a story that you want to tell. Read this book in tandem with your daily writing and revise your story's weak points by consulting with the text. It will be enlightening how much you can strengthen your own work simply by applying the principles outlined here.

I have reviewed a number of writing books in my professional career and this is one that I would be happy to recommend wholeheartedly.
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