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October 16 , 2010

Creating Characters

How to Build Story People


A jargon-free manual on the basics of developing interesting fictional characters

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Cast out of the heavens Lucifer falls to Earth slowly over time, his punishment to land thousands of years after his banishment in modern London. Seeing this new world Lucifer decides to plot his revenge on God by becoming more loved and worshipped than his creator. By any means.

Vibrant, believable characters help drive a fictional story. Along with a clever plot, well-drawn characters make us want to continue reading a novel or finish watching a movie. In Creating Characters, Dwight V. Swain shows how writers can invent interesting characters and improve them so that they move a story along.

“The core of character,” he says in chapter 1, “lies in each individual story person’s ability to care about something; to feel implicitly or explicitly, that something is important.” Building on that foundation—the capacity to care—Swain takes the would-be writer step-by-step through the fundamentals of finding and developing “characters who turn you on.” This basic but thought-provoking how-to is a valuable tool for both the novice and the seasoned writer.

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