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Elements of Fiction Writing

Elements of Fiction Writing - Characters & Viewpoint

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Vivid and memorable characters aren't born: they have to be made.

This book is a set of tools: literary crowbars, chisels, mallets, pliers and tongs. Use them to pry, chip, yank and sift good characters out of the place where they live in your memory, your imagination and your soul.

Award-winning author Orson Scott Card explains in depth the techniques of inventing, developing and presenting characters, plus handling viewpoint in novels and short stories. With specific examples, he spells out your narrative options–the choices you'll make in creating fictional people so "real" that readers will feel they know them like members of their own families.

You'll learn how to:
draw the characters from a variety of sources, including a story's basic idea, real life–even a character's social circumstances
make characters show who they are by the things they do and say, and by their individual "style"
develop characters readers will love–or love to hate
distinguish among major characters, minor characters and walk-ons, and develop each one appropriately
choose the most effective viewpoint to reveal the characters and move the storytelling
decide how deeply you should explore your characters' thoughts, emotions and attitudes

182 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1988

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About the author

Orson Scott Card

858 books19.1k followers
Orson Scott Card is the author of the novels Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, and Speaker for the Dead, which are widely read by adults and younger readers, and are increasingly used in schools.

Besides these and other science fiction novels, Card writes contemporary fantasy (Magic Street, Enchantment, Lost Boys), biblical novels (Stone Tables, Rachel and Leah), the American frontier fantasy series The Tales of Alvin Maker (beginning with Seventh Son), poetry (An Open Book), and many plays and scripts.

Card was born in Washington and grew up in California, Arizona, and Utah. He served a mission for the LDS Church in Brazil in the early 1970s. Besides his writing, he teaches occasional classes and workshops and directs plays. He recently began a long-term position as a professor of writing and literature at Southern Virginia University.

Card currently lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Kristine Allen Card, and their youngest child, Zina Margaret.

For further details, see the author's Wikipedia page.
For an ordered list of the author's works, see Wikipedia's List of works by Orson Scott Card.


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Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews46 followers
December 4, 2019
Characters and Viewpoint (Elements of Fiction Writing), Orson Scott Card
For more than 10 years, this successful series has helped writers improve their work -- one element at a time. Featuring quality instruction from award-winning authors, each book focuses on a key facet of fiction writing, making it easy for writers to find the specific guidance they're looking for.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز چهارم ماه دسامبر سال 2009 میلادی
عنوان: شخصیت‌ پردازی و زاویه دید در داستان (کارگاه داستان 3)؛ نویسنده: اورسون‌ اسکات کارد؛ مترجم: پریسا خسروی‌ سامانی؛ اهواز، رسش‏‫، 1387؛ در 304 ص؛ شابک: 9789648049541؛ چاپ دوم 1391؛ موضوع: داستان نویسی - شخصیت پردازی در ادبیات - نویسندگی خلاق - از نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 20 م

نویسنده باید از چه زاوی ی دیدی برای روایت داستان سود برد؟ در پاسخ به این پرسش باید گفت که: هیچ زاویه ی دیدی بهتر از سایر زاوی ی دیدها نیست. نویسندگان درجه یک، همه ی دیدگاه‌ها را به کار برده‌ اند؛ تا داستان‌های شگفت‌انگیز بگویند. اما این که کدام‌یک را انتخاب کنید هنوز بسیار مهم است. روایت‌های اول شخص و دانای کل طبیعتا نمایشی‌تر از سوم شخص محدود هستند، زیرا در زاویه ی دید اخیر، خوانشگران به راوی توجه بیش‌تری می‌کنند. اگر هدف شما این است که خوانشگران با شخصیت اصلی شما درگیری عاطفی پیدا کنند، و باور آن‌ها از داستان کم‌ترین آسیب را ببیند، در این صورت، راوی سوم‌ شخص محدود، بهترین گزینه ی شماست. اگر طنز می‌نویسید، روایت اول‌شخص، یا دانای کل، در ایجاد فاصله ی کمیک برایتان مفید خواهد بود. اگر خواهان ایجاز هستید، و می‌خواهید به دوره‌ های زمانی، و مکانی، یا شخصیت‌های بسیار بپردازید، شاید راوی دانای کل بهترین گزینه باشد. اگر به دنبال حس حقیقت‌ جویی هستید، که حاصل گزارش یک شاهد عینی باشد، اول‌ شخص، معمولا کم‌تر داستان، و بیش‌تر واقعی به نظر می‌رسد. اگر به توانایی خود به عنوان نویسنده اطمینان ندارید، و در عین حال به توانایی داستان کاملا مطمئن هستید، روایت سوم شخص محدود، سبک نگارش منظم و بی‌پیرایه‌ ای را برایتان فراهم می‌کند؛ قصه‌ ای ساده به زبانی ساده، سومین شماره از مجموعه ی کارگاه داستان به تشریح دو مورد از عناصر داستان، یعنی شخصیت‌ پردازی و زاویه ی دید اختصاص یافته است. شخصیت، چه چیز یک شخصیت، داستانی را بهتر جلوه می‌دهد؟ شخصیت‌ها از کجا می‌آیند؟ چه احساسی باید نسبت به شخصیت‌ها داشته باشیم؟ تفاوت قهرمان داستان، و آدم معمولی، تحول در شخصیت، لحن شخصیت، و انواع روایت پاره‌ ای از مطالب این کتاب هستند. ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Samir Rawas Sarayji.
457 reviews87 followers
September 19, 2013
Characters & Viewpoint is another book by Orson Scott Card from the Writer's Digest Books that failed to impress. The book is 182 pages and is divided into 3 main sections, 'Inventing Characters', 'Constructing Characters', and 'Performing Characters'. Each part is, in turn, divided into smaller chapters.

The first part covers topics that are really for the novice writer, someone who never wrote fiction and one day decided he/she wanted to... It explains how characters can come from people you know, your memories or yourself and so on, how to formulate a character with things like habits, patterns, abilities, feature and so on, and even talks about character names. Now I find this all quite useless, because if I had a novice at my doorstep, I'd rather ask him/her "How do you define yourself as a character?" then see what he/she comes up with, then ask him/her to write it down and take it from there, offering guidance and insight where necessary. Unlike Card's approach, where I find that writing about the obvious is redundant and generalizing the subjective in impractical.

The second part begins with explaining the MICE quotient - Milieu, Idea, Character, Event - explaining that all stories have this but it's necessary for the writer to know which is the prominent one, and therefore, the type of story being written. Card then moves on to briefly explain hierarchies of characters, which he divides into placeholders, minor characters and major characters. The next chapters cover the emotional stakes involved, the emotional qualities a writer endows the characters with, and then discusses comic characters and serious characters. The final chapter here covers 'Transformations', which is indeed a necessity in good story telling because a character should undergo change (or fail at it) and the reader should witness this change (or failure) - but, Card's discussion here becomes abstract and, like most of this section, does not really delve into how to do any of these things. Instead, Card points at contemporary examples from books and films, preaching the do's and don't's, while showing the novice what possibilities are available.

The third part is perhaps the most useful and focuses more on topics like voice and viewpoint rather than purely on character. Again though, the information is quite elementary and what he does in several pages, other writers have accomplished as an opening paragraph in their chapters of similar themes. The brief chapters here discuss the tense the story is told in, dramatic vs. narrative (only 3 pages... seriously?), and the different point of views, which occupies the bulk of this part.

All in all, this is a book for novices and even then, I would not recommend it because much of the fiction or films referred to are mainstream or pulp, and the topics are never explored in-depth. This means the aspiring writer will lack the fundamental knowledge necessary in understanding the mechanisms at work and, thus, not be able to exploit or manipulate them, as exceptional writing is wont to do. I've given this 2 stars because it could still be useful to the novice interested in pulp writing, and because Card does explain himself clearly.
Profile Image for Candace.
895 reviews
June 9, 2017
Orson Scott Card presents tools and techniques for the novice writer on characters and viewpoint. In his book we learn how to invent a character -- what makes a good fictional character. We discover how to construct a character and the importance of the MICE quotient -- Milieu, Idea, Character and Event. We learn the difference between major and minor characters and between walk-on and placeholder characters. We discuss how to raise the emotional stakes of a character and how we should feel about the characters. We talk about transformations -- why people change and justifying those changes. We learn about presentational versus representational viewpoint. We close by looking at first-person and third-person point-of-view.
Profile Image for Melissa.
22 reviews25 followers
October 26, 2011
Not my cup of tea when it comes to writing advice. This WD book was very basic and most of the guidance on characterization is focused on creating characters before you start writing and not fleshing out those characters on the page. Toward the end of the book when Card does finally begin to address what happens to characters in the actual novel/manuscript he gets a bit preachy and theoretical and makes more than few statements that I do not believe are accurate around POV and tense.

Overall I felt this book was incredibly dated and failed to address key areas of characterization. If you're just starting out, it is a quick read and good basic info to be aware of but more advanced writers may find it less than satisfactory.
Profile Image for Alex Sarll.
5,940 reviews243 followers
March 22, 2013
I've just remembered that I read the noted homophobe's writing guide back in my early teens. Even then, I could tell that a lot of his advice was bollocks - I especially remember the bit about how erudite types were inherently unsympathetic, and a smart hero would have to punch a couple of guys for every time he demonstrated his brains. Yep, as demonstrated by the lamentable obscurity in which characters like Poirot and Sherlock Holmes have long languished, right? Pillock.
Profile Image for Jordan.
108 reviews47 followers
August 1, 2021
So incredibly helpful! I thought I knew a lot about characters and viewpoints, but this book took it to another level. I made plenty of notes and highlights in it. I can see myself referencing this books for years to come!
Profile Image for Joy Pixley.
236 reviews
July 11, 2016
For turning out to be possibly my favorite writing craft book ever, this one started off a bit slow to me. The first and shortest section is about coming up with characters, what makes a character, how to name them. It was fine, well-written, and useful, and you couldn't have a book about characters without these issues, but I didn't see a ton that was really new to me.

The remaining three-quarters of the book was amazing. Having anchored on the first four chapters, I kept finding myself thinking: "Well, this book is mostly just fine, but this bit right here is brilliant. And this bit. And this bit here too. I'd better stop again to mark this and write notes in my WIP." Until I realized that I'd said that about every section, on practically every page, for the whole rest of the book. It took me a while to finish because I was reading in small chunks, so when I was done, I went back and read it again. And learned more, again.

What was so good? First, the range and depth of the topics. Card's "MICE quotient" talks about four things your story might focus on (milieu, idea, character, or event), and why it makes sense to look at your characters differently depending on what plot style you're writing. For me, this section was worth the price of the book. He also discusses how readers respond to certain elements and traits in characters and how to include or avoid them. How to construct emotional tension and empathy, how to make characters believable, how or whether they change over time. How to fit the characters into the web of other characters and setting. Possibly the best part of the book is the third section on point of view. I would have sworn I'd read just about everything there was on point of view, but again I was pleasantly surprised. He does a wonderful job of comparing the POV options, discussing the strengths and limitations of each, how the characters come across differently in each one, and why you might want to use one versus the other in certain circumstances, for different effects.

It's not just the range of topics that makes this an excellent craft book, it's how deeply Card manages to probe them; he effortlessly squeezes a huge amount of insight into relatively short sections, while offering truly useful examples and techniques. It is, simply, an incredibly well-written book by someone who really knows what he's talking about and is good at explaining it to other people. You can look up any of these issues online if you want; I'm sure there are tons of blog posts about each one of them. But for me, I'm glad I have Orson Scott Card's way of explaining it, right here by my writing desk, to delve into for serious thinking about my characters whenever I need it.

Profile Image for Ksenia Anske.
Author 10 books617 followers
October 15, 2016
A book to help you choose your POV. Whose story are you really telling? And what POV would be best for it? Plus examples (same bits of stories told from different POVs), rules, conventions, pitfalls and advantages of one or the other POV. Also, if you want to learn what melodramatic writing is and how to avoid it (my case), these are a few excellent examples here that will make you "get" it (I certainly "got" it). "If your characters cry, your readers won't have to; if your characters have good reason to cry, and don't, your readers will do the weeping."
Profile Image for Eric.
184 reviews22 followers
October 25, 2008
I read this book at a point where I'd already read a couple dozen books, a hundred Writers Digest magazines, and a zillion web pages on writing. Upon reading this book, I was EMBARRASSED by how much I didn't know! Characters and Viewpoint is required reading for all fiction writers.
Profile Image for Stephanie Bibb.
Author 12 books18 followers
May 17, 2016
I borrowed this book from another writer at the writer's meeting I attend, since I'm fascinated by the craft of writing. Overall, Orson Scott Card's Characters & Viewpoints book had a lot of insightful information, good stuff to keep in mind when writing and developing characters. Some tips were familiar, while other tips were new or approached a bit differently than I've seen in other sources. I was particularly fond of his explanation of jeopardy, and I found his explanation on developing sympathetic characters interesting.

However, by no means do I think the information in this book should be taken as an absolute answer on the craft of writing.

There were times when it felt like the author held a grudge toward some of his topics.(The way he addressed references of "homosexual" characters, his suggestion that characters who show their intellect tend to come across as unsymphathetic, and the way he addressed some of the women characters didn't quite seem... fully developed?) However, despite having a few biases about what works and what doesn't (or shouldn't... he did not seem to like first person present tense, while this has been done well in quite a few novels, at least recently), there's a lot of useful advise that can help guide and improve an author's writing. A few other reviewers on Goodreads mentioned that his advice seems dated, and there are several instances which attest to this. Admittedly, some of the dated examples can't be helped, given that over time, books do become outdated.

That being said, a lot of his examples came from movies, which explain the points he is trying to make, but I would have liked to have seen more examples from various books. There were also times when I wasn't sure that his examples were accurate, though it's been too long since I've watched/read the example to remember for certain.

As for the development of characters, he has some good points on where to look for ideas, how to develop ideas from something that might seem otherwise trivial, and how looking past the initial first response can create nuanced characters with far more intriguing stories than the first idea you come up with.

He also explains the basic concept of various types of stories, Milieu (which has a fascinating explanation for the reason that The Lord of the Rings is percieved as having so many endings), Idea, Character, and Event. These were quite fascinating to consider, though I felt they could have been explained a bit better, since after reading them I'm still not sure that I understand the division between the three that aren't Milieu (a world-focused story).

The author does have a pretty good explanation of omniscient point of view versus third person limited, and shows the benefits and downsides to both. He seems to be particularly biased on the topic, however (his dislike of present tense), even while admitting that there are reasons to use the other options.

His explanations about what tends to make characters sympathetic vs unsympathetic is insightful, though I disagreed with some of things mentioned (characters who show their intellect coming off as unsymphathetic). Still, it offered a few points to consider, especially if you have beta-readers specifying that you have unlikable character, and you're trying to pinpoint why.

There is also an explanation of a hierarchy of characters, from major to minor and placeholder characters, and how subverting a stereotype can make a character more interesting. This section may be particularly useful to writers having difficulty with characters running off with their manuscript in unintended directions.

He had an interesting section regarding the concept of suspencion of disbelief in regards to comical and serious characters. While fascinating, I think a lot of the points he makes in this section are very dependent on the audience, as I felt opposite about several of the examples he tried to make. Still, the ideas are worth keeping in mind.

My favorite part was his section on raising the emotional stakes and jeopardy. Here he has some golden information. Not all of his tips will work in every situation, but he shows how certain stakes are more likely to be believed than others, and what may cause a reader to feel the most concerned for a character--especially when you already know that a certain character isn't going to die, and what else could happen to them.

Overall, I think Characters & Viewpoints has plenty of tools to refine and remember, though a writer should take what is written with a grain of salt, especially when he's writing about things the author says are "dos" and "don'ts."
Profile Image for Femmy.
Author 30 books517 followers
August 14, 2007
This has got to be one of the best books about writing. It discusses characterization in depth, with practical tools you can actually use in your fiction.

Other articles I've read about characterization inevitably instructs you to create a complete profile about your character, sometimes giving you a form to fill out, with prompts like favorite color and such things, but they don't really show you how to make these details alive in your story.

Characters and Viewpoint shows you just that, how to craft characters through their actions, reactions, motivation, etc, with good examples throughout.
8 reviews3 followers
January 9, 2012
Characters and Viewpoint
By: Orson Scott Card
Writer’s Digest Books

Tools for Creating Vibrant Memorable Characters

In “Characters and Viewpoints” Orson Scott Card provides the writer with the tools for constructing colorful credible characters.

Card grabbed my attention as I scanned the table of contents. I immediately followed this by perusing the bold headings within the chapters.

The book is divided into three parts. Card begins with pointers on inventing characters, where they come from, potential audience, and choosing names.
He moves on to help the reader/writer construct characters, including the protagonist, supporting, and minor characters. I particularly needed help in the area of voice, presentation, and person. Card included illustrations from well-known authors to reinforce the writing principles presented throughout the book.

“The Elements of Fiction Writing - Characters and Viewpoint” is an important tool for new writers. The book is filled with definitive techniques for creating vibrant memorable characters.
Profile Image for Grace Wagner.
13 reviews3 followers
February 23, 2014
This is actually the latest book I've read and it's been incredibly helpful. I was having trouble with my new book because it's told from two main characters' POVs in first person. I really felt like I hadn't solidified those characters and I turned to this book to help. The thing I liked best about this book was that it didn't tell you how to create in depth characterization. It asks you the right questions so you get there on your own. It really is a book of tools, not answers, and those tools have turned out to be very useful. Card takes you on a journey from basic character creation to understanding your story as a whole and how characterization plays into it. It's well written and easy to follow. I would definitely recommend it to anyone having trouble fully realizing their characters.
Profile Image for Amanda.
Author 1 book10 followers
July 18, 2013
This book has some good tips for anyone who wants to evolve their characterizations skills.

Unfortunately, the book is not crammed with such tips on every page. A lot of time is spent rehashing the same point over and over from several perspectives until your eyes start to glaze. It is possible that this would be helpful for a complete novice, but for someone who has already got a lot of this writing stuff figured out, it just comes across as a lot of fluff and filler. I will keep the book as a reference, but I could have spent more time writing if this book had been a little less padded.
Profile Image for John.
1,458 reviews36 followers
March 16, 2012
In this book, Card delved deeper into the subject matter than I've ever seen anyone do before. This is a book I think anyone serious about writing a novel ought to read. It's made even better by the fact that Card's insights apply equally to both literary and mainstream fiction.
Profile Image for Newton Nitro.
Author 4 books103 followers
April 1, 2015
Personagens bem construídos é o segredo de qualquer narrativa que prende o leitor. Dentre os livros com dicas para escritores focado na criação e desenvolvimento de personagens na narrativa, Character and Viewpoint, do Orson Scott Card (o autor de Ender’s Game), é um dos mais famosos.

O livro está dividido em três partes, respectivamente, a Invenção de Personagens, a Construção de Personagens e a Representação de Personagens. Cada uma das partes é repleta de dicas para as diversas etapas da caracterização, a junção de todos os elementos de uma narrativa que contribui para formar a imagem de um personagem na mente do leitor. Quando uma caracterização é bem feita, a história fica mais instigante e gera a sensação de que os personagens agem com realismo.

Na primeira parte do livro descreve o processo de invenção de personagens, de desenvolvimento de idéias e concepções em personagens prontos para sustentar uma narrativa. Algumas dicas dessa parte do livro:

* Um personagem é caracterizado através dos seguintes elementos:
- Suas ações.
- Suas motivações. (porque ele age do jeito que ele age)
- Sua reputação. (o que os outros pensam sobre ele)
- Sua visão pessoal de si mesmo.
- Sua rede de relacionamentos (dize-me com que andas que te direi quem és)
- Seus hábitos e padrões.
- Seus talentos e habilidades.
- Seus gostos e preferências.
- Sua descrição física (que é o de menor importância em uma boa caracterização, apesar de escritores iniciantes focarem mais na descrição física do que nos demais aspectos).

*O leitor sempre faz a seguinte pergunta, consciente ou inconsciente: Porque devo me preocupar com o que está acontecendo na história?

* Conheça os seus personagens entrevistando-os. Abra um arquivo e faça perguntas para o seu personagem, para entender sua visão de mundo. Algo como “O que é mais importante para você?”, “O que você acha do personagem X”, “Qual é o seu maior medo?”, etc. Isso ajuda a descobrir o elemento mais importante de um personagem: sua motivação principal, o conflito interno que sustenta sua visão de mundo e em cima do qual toda a sua personalidade se baseia.

* Se um personagem está muito estereotipado, quebre o esteriótipo descobrindo mais sobre o personagem. Crie (ou melhor deixe ele contar) sua vida, desde quando nasceu até o momento da narrativa. Veja o que pode ter influenciado sua vida, que tipo de experiências ele passou, que nuances e que novas facetas ele mostra para o mundo.

* Um personagem bem construído revela diferentes modos de ser, dependendo das relações sociais que ele se envolve. Normalmente mostramos faces diferentes em casa e no trabalho, entre amigos e com nossa família, faces muitas vezes antagônicas e contraditórias. Um personagem bem construído também irá apresentar essas diferentes faces, quebrando o esteriótipo.

* Cuidado ao usar pessoas do mundo real como personagens, elas poderão se ofender. Uma dica é combinar pessoas que se conhece ou usar apenas alguns aspectos para caracterizar um personagem.

* Um nome de personagem bem escolhido pode contribuir na caracterização e até mesmo poupar parágrafos de descrição.

* Evite usar mais de um nome para um personagem ao invés de usar alcunhas ou palavras diversas que aludem o personagem, pois isso pode causar confusão no leitor.

* Boa caracterização é a criação do personagem ao longo da narrativa, de modo que ele pareça real e vivo para o leitor.

Essa parte do livro aborda técnicas para construir personagens ao longo da narrativa. Um dos pontos importantes levantados por Orson Scott Card é que o modo e a profundidade de caracterização varia de acordo com o tipo de história que se procura contar. Seguem algumas dicas dessa parte:

*Existem quatro fatores presentes em qualquer tipo história, com diferentes graus de ênfase, e que determinam qual é a melhor maneira de fazer a caracterização. Cada um desses fatores é diferente dependendo do tipo de história que se quer contar. Os fatores são:


O MEIO é o mundo ao redor dos personagens, o cenário e seus habitantes.

O MISTÉRIO é a informação que o leitor precisa descobrir ou aprender durante o processo de leitura da história.

A PSICOLOGIA é a natureza de um ou mais personagens da história, o que eles fazem e porque eles fazem o que fazem. Isso leva a uma conclusão sobre a natureza humana em geral.

O EVENTO é um acontecimento importante, um problema no cenário da narrativa cuja solução (ou reação a ele) move a trama.

Esses fatores se sobrepõe entre si. Um personagem A pode fazer parte do MEIO do personagem B. A MISTÉRIO de uma história pode incluir informação sobre a PSICOLOGIA de um personagem ou pode ser um aspecto do MEIO, que foi previamente mal entendido.

Senhor dos Anéis é uma narrativa mais focada na descrição do MEIO (o mundo da Terra Média), e nos EVENTOS (a ascenção de Sauron, guerras, ameaças, lutas, jornadas, etc.). Em seguida, a narrativa trata da PSICOLOGIA , de maneira mais aprofundada em alguns poucos personagens, e contando com elementos de MISTÉRIO (mistérios e secredos da Terra Média que são revelados ao longo da narrativa).

Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas é mais focado na PSICOLOGIA (com a narrativa lidando mais com as neuroses do protagonista e suas opiniões sobre o que acontece), depois o MEIO (descrição da sociedade da época), e em menor grau MISTÉRIO e EVENTOS (os acontecimentos que mudam a vida de Brás Cubas).

Histórias mais focadas no MEIO servem mais para mostrar o cenário do que para focar em dramas de personagens. Normalmente envolvem jornadas pelo protagonista em vários lugares. Um exemplo é o Viagens de Gulliver. A caracterização tende a ser mais simples e usando tipos mais genéricos, pois o foco está em mostrar o meio, o cenário, o ambiente da história.

Histórias mais focadas no MISTÉRIO tem uma estrutura simples. Um problema ou uma questão é apresentada no começo da história e no final sua resposta é revelada. Narrativas de mistério, histórias de crimes e de detetive caem dentro desse tipo. Ficção Científica também possui muitos exemplos desse tipo de história. Atualmente, histórias de detetive possuem uma caracterização mais profunda do que antigamente, mas o foco de uma história de IDÉIAS está na revelação do mistério que ela propõe.

Histórias mais focadas na PSICOLOGIA são sobre pessoas tentando mudar suas próprias vidas. Essas histórias começam quando o personagem principal acha seu presente intolerável e tenta mudá-lo. Esse tipo de história termina quando o personagem ou encontra um novo papel na vida ou retorna relutantemente para seu antigo papel. É o tipo de história que requer uma caracterização mais profunda, pois o foco da narrativa é no drama interior dos personagens e nas mudanças que acontecem em sua natureza. A maioria dos livros de Machado de Assis são de histórias de Natureza Humana.

História mais focadas nos EVENTOS são aquelas que a preocupação principal da história estão nos eventos. O mundo da narrativa está desbalanceado, em crise, decadente, ou entrando em um período de calamidade e destruição, e a história é um esforço para restaurar o equilíbrio perdido. O Senhor dos Anéis seria uma história cujo o fator EVENTO (o perigo de Sauron) é proeminente..

Uma história que começa com um foco em um desses fatores e depois muda de foco perde sua força com o leitor. Por exemplo, se uma história é claramente focada no MISTÉRIO (como a série Lost, por exemplo), o leitor/espectador acredita que em algum momento o fator MISTÉRIO vai ser revelado, com base na sua expectativa narrativa. Se o MISTÉRIO não é revelado satisfactoriamente, muito dos leitores ficarão frustrados com a narrativa.

Uma história que começa com o fator EVENTO em evidência (um apocalipse zumbi por exemplo) e depois se transforma em uma história com foco em PSICOLOGIA apagando qualquer indicação de que o fator EVENTO será novamente o foco da narrativa pode passar a sensação de que a narrativa está lenda, enrolada e chata, se perdendo em dramas internos dos personagens. Nesse caso, o escritor pode mudar o foco da narrativa desde o início, transformando a história em uma narrativa de PSICOLOGIA, com o fator EVENTO diminuído. Isso muda a percepção do leitor e a narrativa é mais bem sucedida.

Caracterização inclui saber quais momentos se deve concentrar no personagem e em quais momentos não se deve concentrar no personagem, e deve se adaptar ao foco narrativo que você quer dar na sua história, seja MEIO, PSICOLOGIA, EVENTO ou MISTÉRIO.

* A primeira impressão de um leitor em relação a um personagem determina o sucesso ou o fracasso de uma narrativa. O escritor deve prestar atenção em como apresentar seus personagens, em como construir as primeiras cenas em que eles se apresentam para ganhar o interesse do leitor.

* Mesmo que não se apresente na narrativa, todo personagem precisa de um passado. É dever do escritor criar esse passado para os personagens mais importantes da narrativa, ou correrá o risco de cair no clichê.

Na terceira e última parte do livro, Orson Scott Card explica a técnica do escritor como um ator, representando seus personagens dentro da narrativa. Essa última parte analisa com grande profundidade os diferentes Pontos de Vista Narrativos, mostrando suas vantagens e desvantagens. Seguem algumas dicas:

* A narrativa em Primeira Pessoa, e Terceira Pessoa Limitada são as mais usadas atualmente pelos escritores.

* A narrativa de Terceira Pessoa Limitada é a mais transparente, e uma das mais indicadas para escritores iniciantes.

* A narrativa em Primeira Pessoa cria uma ligação íntima entre o leitor e o narrador, porém pode se conseguir o mesmo efeito usando Terceira Pessoa Limitada.

* Cada tipo de história vai exigir um tipo de narrador.

* O Ponto de Vista Onisciente de Terceira Pessoa é muito útil para romances épicos e históricos, porém cria uma distância entre o leitor e os personagens, já que o Ponto de Vista varia entre diversos personagens. Nesse caso, a história geral da narrativa deve ser fascinante o suficiente para manter o interesse do leitor.

* Escrever narrativas no tempo verbal do Passado é o mais comum e o mais invisível para o leitor. Narrativas descritas no tempo Presente dão um senso de imediatismo, mas os verbos no tempo Presente tendem a chamar a atenção do leitor mais para a escrita do que para a história.

* MOSTRAR (Show) é descrever passo a passo uma cena, como se estivesse acontecendo no presente. CONTAR (Tell) é sumarizar ou resumir uma narrativa, que aconteceu antes da próxima cena da história.

* Show vs. Tell vs. Ignore - O escritor deve sempre balancear quando deve “MOSTRAR”, quando deve “CONTAR” e quando deve “IGNORAR” em relação aos acontecimentos da narrativa. MOSTRE as cenas essenciais, de forte conteúdo emocional, CONTE o necessário para contextualizar ou ligar uma cena a outra e IGNORE tudo aquilo que não for essencial para a narrativa. Não existe receita para quando se deve MOSTRAR ou CONTAR; apesar de que, na dúvida, MOSTRE! :)

Essas são apenas algumas anotações que fiz a partir de uma primeira leitura do Character and Viewpoint. O que mais gostei desse livro foram os exemplos que sustentam cada uma das dicas. Orscon Scott Card dá exemplos extensos do que se deve fazer e do que se deve evitar na caracterização.

Recomendo muito esse livro para escritores iniciantes e avançados, e devo relê-lo no futuro!
Profile Image for Allan Walsh.
Author 17 books71 followers
October 3, 2019
Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card is a non-fiction title designed to assist writers with their character creation as well as other writing techniques.

The Cover: I’m sorry to say that while this is a suitable non-fiction cover with a clear title, I find it rather boring. To me it looks like one of those school books you are required to purchase for the curriculum, only to find you never need refer to it. If not for the title I doubt I’d have picked this one up at all.

The Good Stuff: This is a very good book for the beginner writer and still offers some insights to the more experienced. It is packed full with practical advice and techniques that are clearly explained. The author’s style is easy to read and enjoyable (nothing like the stuffy feel book cover gives off). I picked up a few tips for myself and certainly found some parts of the text thought provoking and stimulating.

The Bad Stuff: As with many non-fiction titles I read these days, I feel there is unnecessary filler within the pages. It may just be that I like to get straight to the point and move on, or it may be that I am familiar with a lot of the information and am looking for something new. Either way, I found myself skim-reading or skipping through some parts of this book.

Overall, I found this to be a good title focused on developing interesting characters. Some parts of this book stimulated my thoughts on things I consider I already know. Other parts gave me inspiration around things I have given little consideration to when developing my own characters. For these reasons, I’m giving this one a character building 4 out of 5 golden bookmarks.
Profile Image for Rod Raglin.
Author 34 books26 followers
June 30, 2017
There's nothing new in books about writing fiction, only on how they're presented.

Some are written by academics and you need to be one to understand them. Others are written by authors who use them as a means of self-aggrandizement constantly quoting examples from their own work. These may not necessarily be good examples of what they're trying to demonstrate, but they're not about to let an opportunity to promote their work slip by.

In Characters and Viewpoint, Card uses straight forward prose and not a lot of examples from his own work and gives good insight into these two important aspects of writing fiction.

This is a solid book about what is stated in the title.
Profile Image for Willow (Taylor's version).
187 reviews3 followers
July 14, 2022
This isn't the best Elements of Fiction Writing book I've read, but it's not bad. Orson Scott Card writes everything extremely clearly and concise, and the order he presents each topic makes sense and expands upon the last one.

However, I do wish he had gone more in depth, especially in the later chapters. I felt like he glossed over somethings that would've been really interesting if he'd expanded on them more. This seemed more for beginning writers than others, but I'm still glad I read it.
Profile Image for Leif.
Author 3 books21 followers
July 21, 2020
I did not like the examples used, but I learnt something new or got a new perspective out of most chapters. Not bad at all.
Profile Image for Gary Avants.
28 reviews
April 28, 2021
Thanks to my friend Matt for passing this great resource.
I am writing a book series and had issues with POV and narrator choice. Orson Scott Card really gave some great tips that I hope to employ.
Profile Image for Jonas.
Author 1 book14 followers
January 18, 2021
Really diverse information which is kind of obvious but still very easy to miss. He includes lots of examples too, great for reference.
Profile Image for Lukas.
64 reviews8 followers
May 4, 2017

This book had some good ideas on characterization but overall it complicated topics far more than I'd prefer and I found myself skimming as a result.

It wasn't a waste of time but there are books that covers the same ground while also being A. More concise or b. Having more thought provoking content.

There are better books on fiction writing and for it's topics characters and viewpoints it didn't do much in the realm of expert ideas for me.
Profile Image for Joseph Carrabis.
Author 36 books95 followers
December 31, 2020
First and up front, I've never enjoyed an Orson Scott Card book. I could never get into them. They didn't interest me. When a reviewer favorably compared my The Augmented Man to Card's Ender's Game, I scratched my head. Grateful, of course, and still confused.
However, Card's Characters & Viewpoint ?
Another story (forgive the pun) entirely.
Although titled "Characters & Viewpoint", the subtitle is "How to invent, construct, and animate vivid, credible characters and choose the best eyes through which to view the events of your short story or novel." Tear that subtitle apart and you get (or, at least I got):

General story building elements
Story concept
Story structure

I so dog-eared this book my folded pages made it twice as thick as normal.
Card's book goes way beyond most teaching books I've read. He's not a lecturer such as I remember from college days. I believe he teaches workshops and I'll have to find one and suggest you do the same.
I've written more on my blog. Enjoy
Profile Image for Mike.
Author 45 books160 followers
January 14, 2016
I'd already heard much of the advice in this book, in part because Mary Robinette Kowal of the Writing Excuses podcast is a fan and refers to it often. It was still worth reading, as it takes the reader through a number of important considerations about characterisation and allied subjects: not only how to use the techniques, but when and why. I highlighted a great many useful and well-considered passages.

Card's basic view of writing is that in telling stories, we are influencing people to expand their understanding of the human condition; that by presenting fictional characters we can help our readers understand them more than they have ever understood a real person, and to understand themselves. This involves making the reader care about, believe in, and comprehend the story that you're telling and the characters in it. In order to do this effectively, we need to understand the techniques of characterisation.

Along the way, he considers the question of the epic hero versus the ordinary person; the comic character and the serious character; the hero and the villain; character change; voice; and viewpoint. Throughout, he explains the techniques in terms of the likely effect on the reader.

The Kindle edition has been scanned from a print copy, but competently, and there are only a few small errors (such as a missing blank line after the sentence "This is what a line break looks like").

All in all, worthy to stand alongside its series-mates Scene and Structure and Beginnings, Middles & Ends.

Profile Image for Taka.
687 reviews529 followers
February 4, 2010
Solid book on writing--

While some information is pretty basic and somewhat outdated (I'd have to disagree with the author's contention that the present-tense first person doesn't work), this book offers a whole range of invaluable advice on characters. The book is divided into three parts, not all of which provide the same quality of advice and information.

The first part has only some useful tips and advice, covering basic grounds like where we should get ideas for characters and naming them. His advice to always treat real-life models as only STARTING POINTS and NEVER full characters in themselves I thought was a great piece of advice.

The second part is golden. It deals with specific traits that make us love or hate characters, ways to raise the emotional stakes and use flashbacks effectively, and the differences between comic characters and serious characters. If you are a storyteller, this is something you MUST know.

The third and final part deals with telling vs. showing, voice, and viewpoint. While some of the information is helpful (such as the specific strengths and weaknesses of different viewpoints), most of it is straightforward and commonsensical.

Overall, I thought this makes a great companion book to Donald Maass's books in that it complements it where Maass's books overlook or fail to cover in enough depth.

Profile Image for Elaine Jemmett.
Author 3 books1 follower
September 18, 2019
This is the second time I've read this book. After the second time through, I now think I will read it every time I start writing a new novel. I can't recommend it highly enough.

I have read a lot of "how to" writing books, always looking for pointers, or hoping from the blurb that the book will solve whatever problem I'm having at the time. Many of them are useful. A lot of them are junk. I have hardly any on my Goodreads shelves because I usually can't bring myself to give other authors bad reviews.

This is the second "Writer's Digest Book" I've read. The other one was excellent too, but in the case of "Characters & Viewpoint" I really wish I'd read it when I was studying literature in university. It describes the various elements of story and how they relate to character in ways that are (I think) usually only apparent to those who have done the deed of writing fiction. In other words, read this and you may understand fiction in ways you never did before.

Written with crystal clarity. Eminently useful. Highly recommended.
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