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Which book to buy?
edited April 2015
I want to buy a book on characterization and would like to get some advice. I've picked three from Amazon, all seem to be good and all the writers have published many books so I can't decide. Is any of you familiar with any of these?
I've never reaIly thought about reading a book about characterization. I have a vague idea of my characters, try to write a profile, and find that they change and grow with my writing.
I don't need to 'find' a character or make one up as they are usually in some form in my head and I get to know them through writing. That's why I've never thought I needed a book specifically about characters. I will reveal the character through dialogue, thoughts, actions, behaviour and other characters which I've learnt through constant reading.
Try interviewing your character or writing their diary. All the books I've read over the years it's only now as I actually sit down and write that I am learnig how it all works.
The only one I recognise is the characters, emotion and viewpoint but I've never need help for that. I need help in other ways e.g. dialogue
Can't comment on these particular books, Balazs - my 'how to' books cover all the basics rather than one aspect only.
The best of these (for me personally) has been Sol Stein's Solutions for Writers, which does cover characterisation along with lots of other extremely useful advice.
I avoid 'how to' books on specific elements of writing - they bore the hell out of me. Most simply made me worry I was doing everything wrong and it got in the way of the, well, writing.
A quote stuck with me though (Scarlett Thomas quotes Robert McKee in her book 'Monkeys with Typewriters')
"If your character's up to no good and you place yourself within his being, asking, 'If I were he in this situation, what would I do?', you'd do everything possible to get away with it. Therefore you would not act like a villain; you would not twist your moustache."
Something to think about anyway
Thanks very much, everyone. I've managed to make up my mind
Glad you've sorted it, Balazs. I can just support Claudia's point: of all the How-to-write books I've read (dozens), Sol Stein's Solutions For Writers stands head and shoulders above the others.
Good luck with your characterisation.
I finally bought On Writing by Sol Stein as it has better reviews than Solutions for Writers, but I might buy this one as well later. Also, Solutions for Writers is not available as an ebook.
Thanks for the advice.
No prob, Balazs. On Writing is good as well.
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