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Creating Characters: Let Them Whisper Their Secrets Paperback – 28 Jul 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Wiese Productions (28 July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0941188973
  • ISBN-13: 978-0941188975
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 1.7 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,329,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Authors! Screenwriters! Jump start your creativity with this lively and exciting guide to creative writing techniques you can instantly employ to create memorable, realistic characters. Fresh, invigorating and jam-packed with solid 'how-to' advice, D'Vari reveals the creative secrets of highly paid screenwriters and best-selling authors. At a glance, discover how to: find the appropriate character type for your protagonist's objectives; and, learn the specific 'type' of romantic lead who will bring out your character's most endearing qualities. It introduces the 'More-Personality' system for writing and developing vibrant characterization. It is written by a professional story consultant with 20 years experience in the film industry. It is full of detailed, practical advice on becoming a successful author.

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Did you ever see a film or read a book, and strongly feel you have met the character before? Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R. F. Stevens HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 6 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback
I came across this when browsing through the BFI (British Film Institute) book shop on the South Bank in London, and was immediately struck by the simplicity of the character analysis test; and then, after a minute with a pencil and some scrap paper, how spookily accurate it was for a couple of people I knew.

I bought the book on the strength of that analysis tool alone. But having read all of it, and now put it into practice, the rest of the book is also very useful. It does require one to use discipline, and be organised, and to plan the character development. But then any good writer does that. Yes?

It is not a quick, cook-book solution to building up the details of characters; it is more a method, a process of organisation and review, a technique that will allow fictional characters to become fully fleshed and mature, and most importantly, self-consistent.

It applies equally well to film or book, play or sketch; a well developed character writes his own dialogue, leaving the author time to concentrate on the plot.

Marisa D'Vari has been in the film business for many years, and her experience shows. The analysis method is a refinement of well-proven scientific principles, and one might well find versions of it as part of an interview questionnaire when applying for a job. Be warned, after completing one such, the prospective employer really will know how you think!

Addendum. 16th Nov 09.
If you need to know more background about the fundamental personality types considered when developing her analysis it is worth reading Type Talk: The 16 Personality Types which discusses the Myers-Briggs system in great detail. However, unlike Marisa D'Vari's book, this one specifically does not give you any tests to use - they will cost you real money!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tungolwittigan on 13 May 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book - contains male and female archetypal characters and explains how plot development works for each of these. I'd definitely recommend this.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Porter on 1 Sept. 2008
Format: Paperback
There's some really nice insight into this book, but it's digging around to find it which I didn't like...

At times reading this was more labourious than helpful...but some interesting ideas...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 16 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Not such a big deal. 25 Aug. 2005
By Pat C. Ames - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While this book may be useful to the novice writer or one unfamiliar with personality assessment tools, I found it more irritating than helpful and not particularly original. Ms. D'vari has adapted the Myers-Briggs, Enneagram and the DISC to create her own, very simplistic, MORE system which she uses to help the writer develop the personality traits of the imagined characters.

My biggest complaint with this book was that all of the question marks were upside down and backwards! This, along with numerous typos and/or misspelled words, indicates a lack of care in either the writer, the publisher or the editor. If you can overlook these, which I found to be more grating than nails on a chalkboard, perhaps you will discover more of interest than I did.
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Starts off okay but fizzles 27 July 2006
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Basically, what the author has done is to group the various related types in the Enneagram (or Myers-Briggs or Jung) into just 4 types and uses a scoring system to weight each one.

Movers - driven, goal-oriented 'Type A'

Observers - factual, aloof, and insecure

Relaters - romantic "people" person

Energizers - charming, flamboyant storyteller

(Hence "M.O.R.E.")

(There's a danger to this kind of oversimplification. If we were to divide up the world into, say, "Hispanic" and "Not Hispanic" it would simplify the categories, but a lot of nuances and depth of cultures would be lost. It seems to be counterproductive if depth is what you're looking for.)

I've tried using this book with my 3 main characters in my current project. And I find that by applying this methodology, they're more likely to be alike than different. There's not nearly enough on distinguishing characters *within* these 4 types once you have them. For example, let's say I have two Movers. They shouldn't be exactly alike, so how do I make them different? If she scores 27 for Mover and Relater, how do I balance those? If he scores 26 as an Observer and 22 as an Energizer, how do I factor in the latter?

After your characters are categorized, the book seems to fizzle and the discussion on M.O.R.E types appears to be over. The author gets into "channeling," character goal-setting (and not just for the story but for a lifetime), determining a character's wardrobe, and visualizing a character's "autopsy." It would seem that types would drive something like wardrobe choices and goals, but it's not even mentioned.

I was hoping for more.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
More Formulas From Hollywood! 25 Feb. 2008
By F. Gomez - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book would appear to have potential from the first couple of pages (in which the author goes into length explaining the sources for her MORE theory ). However, the more you read, the more you feel you've read this before, written by people with better insight into character development, and who might've actually penned a screenplay or two. As she herself explains, her job capacity in the movie "business" is as an executive. Therefore, this book has an executive's values. Superficiality, one dimensionality and complete contempt for the characters we should in fact respect. Can humanity REALLY be divided into four categories? Even as I read it I found myself clustered into all four of them. True characters; human characters will never always be or show one aspect of their personality. We all want to at times be the center of attention (energizer), or care for others (relater), or think clearly before making a decision (observer) or move relentlessly forward (mover), sometimes simultaneously! But don't tell the author that! Humans have been divided into four types of people and that's that! Quite honestly, you should really re-evaluate acquiring a book endorsed by Christopher "one story fits-all" Vogler. If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Use it in the earliest stages. 25 April 2007
By Ken O'Donnell - Published on
Format: Paperback
The oversimplifications and shorthand in this book are most helpful at the earliest phases of screenwriting, when you're just mapping out the big chunks of character psychology and plot. The last thing you need at that point is nuance! Using D'Vari's MORE system to make sure you have a range of character types with built-in conflict is a huge time-saver. As others have observed, you can get more refined typology from the original Myers-Briggs, but if you're ready for that kind of detail you probably shouldn't be using a typology at all; by then the characters themselves should be taking over anyway.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Worst of the 2-3 dozen screenwriting books I've read 28 Aug. 2008
By AC - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is far and away the worst book I've ever read. Amid the spelling and grammatical errors there were many poorly summarized/ plagiarized ideas from other people. The one original idea, the author's system of classifying characters, is totally counterproductive to creating interesting or unique characters. She suggests grouping ALL PEOPLE into 4 groups. I have read around 2 dozen books on screenwriting. They were all better.
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