Writing fiction and memoir is hard, and writing compelling characters is much of what makes it hard. We often dive into a manuscript or outline with a basic understanding of what makes our characters tick, but often that understanding turns out even shallower than what we’d previously thought. This can lead not only to frustration but a belief that the manuscript will never live up to its potential. After all, if we can’t understand our characters well, or what makes them believable, then how can we trust our false effort to pass them off to our readers as believable?
Welcome back to The Writer’s Bookshelf. This week’s book, Writer’s Guide to Character Traits, Second Edition by Linda N. Edelstein, Ph.D., helps us through this issue by providing us with a bank of character traits for any and most occasions, using psychological profiles for certain character types and breaking down the many traits that accompany that profile. And you know it’s useful because the titled credential in the author’s name proves that she knows what she’s talking about.
This book is a mix of narrative and definitions, text and charts. It’s also quite long, but very resourceful for anyone who takes their character development seriously. It even, on occasion, gives tips on how the writer can handle moments of crisis or change. It’s definitely an essential reference for anyone who wants a believable and empathetic character.
Check out my video on the topic to find out more about it.
by Linda N. Edelstein, Ph.D.
· Paperback: 384 pages
· ISBN-10: 1582973903
· ISBN-13: 978-1582973906
· Publisher: Writer’s Digest Books; Second edition (August 9, 2006)
Check out other entries in the Writer’s Bookshelf series here.
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