15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
An essential and important book for your literary arsenal,
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This review is from: Characters and Viewpoint (The elements of fiction writing) (Paperback)
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.