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The Mythic Guide to Characters: Writing Characters Who Enchant and Inspire Kindle Edition
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|Length: 181 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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1. The Fantasy Element-Being that I'm a huge fan of fantasy and have been for a long time, I've often looked for books that specifically take a look at writing from a fantasy writer's perspective. This book uses examples from popular fantasy novels (Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Lord of the Rings to name a few) when analyzing each concept. It was intriguing to see these concepts applied to so many popular, best-selling books. Often when I read about these concepts, they're just sort of nebulous and hard to connect to without examples. del Drago gives plenty of relevant examples and none of them feel like a stretch at all. One of the strengths of this book is how many excellent examples are given for each concept.
2. The Ease of Language-This is probably one of the more accessible books I've read about characters or writing in general. The concepts are explained clearly and don't meander off into other tangents, something I really liked. Sometimes in writing books I notice writers may wander off into other topics that may have nothing to do with what they're talking about. del Drago does an excellent job of keeping the focus on the concepts he's discussing.
3. Character Worksheets-For writers who would like to apply what they've learned, there are in-depth, helpful Character Worksheets that can be printed out from a link provided in the book. I enjoyed this feature due to often wanting more concrete resources to use from my writing books.
4. The Concepts- Last, but not least, are the actual concepts. I believe the concepts discussed in the book can be easily utilized by any fantasy writer as they begin to construct a novel. The concepts aren't rigid and restricting, but easy to manipulate in order for the writer to make it work for his or her novel. With archetypes, I always considered them to be rigid, hard to manage concepts of how "characters should be." However, del Drago shows how they can be used to bring out the characteristics you want by mixing and matching various types. My favorite concept overall was the Ennegram though. By examining nine different personality types, the writer can develop a wide arrange of characters that they can build upon. del Drago does a good job showing how these personality types can apply to some of the most popular characters in fiction. There is also some focus on physical characteristics and speech patterns and how they can help give ample characterization. Overall, none of the concepts were complicated and the wealth of examples helped illustrate how easily the concepts can be implemented.
The examination of some popular characters, their relationships, and their personalities made for a really interesting, informative read. I would highly recommend The Mythic Guide to Characters for anyone who loves resources for developing characters, fantasy, or writing in general. I look forward to seeing what del Drago produces next.
I am a writer, and foremost a reader and a student of writing. I have a library of 'How-To' books and courses on writing. I am currently taking an excellent writing course (How To Think Sideways ULTRA - by Holly Lisle). My point being that I can honestly say that when Dr. del Drago sent me a physical copy to read and review I was delighted. I was even more delighted as I read through it. I am now a huge fan and look forward to interacting with him on his Mythic Scribes website.
What I was most impressed with was how simply he writes. Just because a person has a doctoral degree or is of high intellect does not mean they are good communicators. Dr. Antonio del Drago is just that. His words flow easily and his point presentation is easy to absorb. He breaks down several areas of character building that I was familiar with and several that I was not. In every case I was impressed that he was not trying to impress me with his ego, he impressed me with his knowledge and love of fiction writing. I was so impressed that even though I have a physical copy of this book, I bought a digital copy out of respect. I have never done this before but felt compelled to because I believe in his message presented in this book.
If you are a writer seeking to enhance your craft in character building or a person seeking to understand the characters you read about in novels or see in the cinema and on television, or you simply want to gain more insight into the people around you, I recommend you purchase a copy of this book. It is one that you will want to keep and refer to often.
The book reads like a popular essay, which is different form many of the writing books I've read. Drago is really good at giving examples (drawn from well-known books and movies) of varying character and relationship types. I especially liked the connection between how a person plays a video game and how a character interacts with his world.
The book dives into the ideas of "enneagrams," archetypes, and soul triptychs, which made for an interesting and enlightening read.
I didn't entirely agree with the section on physical characteristics--I think there was a lot of general assumption being thrown around, and the advice flip-flopped a little. Drago also addresses the use of "real-life" dialogue (writing as people actually speak) in a way that almost went overboard for me. Sort of like he was venting a pet peeve. (I will note that I've never seen broken, "natural" dialogue in any amateur [or professional] writing. Bad dialogue, yes, but not in the way this book describes.)
With all that said, if you're a beginning writer (especially in the fantasy or science-fiction genre) and can get
this book at a good price, go for it. It has some insightful, psychological insights on character, as well as some handy worksheets in the back.
Dr. Antonio Del Drago
ISBN 13: 978-0615752310
Reviewed by Billie A Williams
The Mythic Guide to Characters is not your typical How-To-Manufacture-Fictional-Characters. It does not give you a rote formula for mixing all your ingredients in certain portions to come up with the perfect blockbuster character.
What The Mythic Guide does is take you by the hand and lead you through ways to build your characters layer by layer to make them fully functional and interesting for your reader. Dr. Antonio Del Drago explores what and how to use; the Unconscious Mind, The Enneagram, and The Bartle Types that will give you well-rounded and appealing characters for your story, instead of stick figure or stereotypes that will bore agents, editors and publishers and readers.
Using actual examples from current best sellers and classics you learn how and why these characteristics work and how you can develop them in your work as well. When Dr. Del Drago explains Archetypes as recurring themes that result from "countless experiences of our ancestors," rooted in the collective unconscious mind of your reader so that they can relate and like your character, he gives concrete examples that make sense and bring you to the page with what you need to know.
Nine names that define personality types , the four Bartle Types, The Five Great Relationships, and the Archetypes of which he lists eight, but says there are many more, and the three Soul Triptychs are a fascinating study in creating character. Dr. Del Drago is a master at pointing to real examples that, we, as writers and readers, all know and can understand once he shows us how they fit these types.
"Telling features are not for providing an image of character but, to help define how the character will behave and function." In other words don't tell your reader that your character has blue eyes and blonde hair and stands 5'11" tall. Show him or her in action. Show him/her with her unconscious mind responding to stimuli. Is he/she Hero, Shadow, Mentor or Trickster? Know your character inside out before you try to provide physical characteristics that will define the character as opposed to just what they look like, i.e. physical traits.
A very fast read, well told, interesting and engaging book I would highly recommend to both fiction and nonfiction writers. The psychology of character and creating a believable worthy match for your story can be yours in this very compact but loaded book. You've no doubt heard the phrase, "dynamite comes in small packages", this book is an arsenal for the writer. It will take your writing to the next level. Get it now! You'll be glad you did.
While this title can be used for any genre, it seems to pay close attention to characters in a fantasy or science fiction setting. So those writers who are looking for advice or techniques surrounding that genre, this book helps there as well.
This is a quick, clear, and enjoyable read. I came away with even more understanding of character development, and an arsenal of new tools that I'm sure will be very helpful in my next writing project.