Just Read: Characters & Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card

I just  finished Elements of Fiction Writing: Characters & Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card. Dennis had a bit of extra money on an Amazon gift card and surprised me by buying it off my wish list.

I throughly enjoyed this book and felt it was much fuller than Card’s Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy. He spells out in great detail narrative options: (first person, limited 3rd person, and omnipresent 3rd person) He also has charts for the beginner writer to truly understand what they are doing. While this part of the book, felt a bit like review for me, I still feel it was worthwhile reading.

The best part of the book for me is the Chapter 3 when he explains how to draw characters from a variety of sources–life, memories, interviews, etc.–and then expand them to make them feel much more original and alive which of course is what we want in a fictional character. He suggests a character bible in order to keep all the characters straight.  That is something I do in limited amount with a character list, but on my next project, I think I am going to try making a bible. Especially because my next project will have a much bigger cast.

While I understanding that he is drawing broad strokes when he talked about acts that make us dislike or not sympathize with a character, I have to disagree. But then my favorite types of characters tend to be the villains and rouges. That’s just want happens when a girl grows up on the original A-team: Ah how I crave you Templeton Peck. I don’t give a hoot about the actors Dirk Benedict and Tim Dunigan (in the pilot): it’s the character that light my soul, however now I digress…

Card fills his book with wonderful examples for each types of narration and subject matter which is why I recommend for writer and anyone interested in the writing process.


One response to this post.

  1. This sounds like a wonderful read; and I love the idea of a character bible! Keeping POVs straight is also important for new writers. I’ll watch out for this one. OSC’s Enders Game is on my wish list as well.


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