If you’re a writer, you should be familiar with Writer’s Digest. And if you’re a subscriber, you know the buzz that comes from pulling the latest issue out of your mailbox. Always a happy surprise.
Not quite like finding a stack of letters from every single agent you’ve queried saying they’ll do anything to rep your latest novel.
Or not quite like finding an acceptance letter from that prestigious journal.
Not even the thrill of a big, fat check from a publisher, but a happy surprise nonetheless.
And hey, if anything, Writer’s Digest will help you make those dreams come true.
Even if it’s a tall order.
You see, Writer’s Digest is really one size fits all.
That’s because Writer’s Digest is it’s not just a magazine. They also publish books for writers.
So here’s a great one to start or add to your collection:
Creating Characters The Complete Guide to Populating Your Fiction, Editors of Writer’s Digest, WD Books, 2014. 341 pages.
Characters are the lifeblood of any story–any novel.
Without an engaging protagonist, a writer can craft the most exciting car chases, killer suspense, comedic scenes, and romance that will make you crave a cigarette once you close the book, but it’s all for naught.
We need to see ourselves in the main character. Readers want to suspend disbelief in order to cheer on another person through whom we can live vicariously.
We want to see how a character deals with her inner demons and other conflicts, and emerges either better for the experience, or changed in some way.
This book is a compilation of essays, possibly articles once published in the pages of WD Magazine, written by a variety of industry heavyweights.
It’s the kind of book you can read from cover to cover–especially if you are a novice or aspiring writer. There is plenty here from humble beginnings all the way through revision.
For me, it’s the kind of book that is perfect on the nightstand or in the loo. Each essay is just long enough to be edifying. Just long enough to read in one sitting.
The book is divided into nine parts, or nine categories. Each part contains three to five essays from working writers.
The parts are as follows: Getting Started, Point of View, Dialogue, Protagonists, Antagonists, Supporting Characters, Conflict, Motivations & Relationships, and finally, Character Arcs.
Being a writer means we are joined in lifelong internships. We all have something to learn and something to teach. From this neat resource, writers will receive tailored lessons from authors like Chuck Wendig, James Scott Bell, Nancy Kress, Orson Scott Card, and Hallie Ephron, among others.
If you are struggling to develop an antagonist who isn’t pure evil, or a protagonist who needs a more interesting chink in her armor, or minor characters who aren’t cartoon stock, then this book is for you.
Maybe you’re experienced enough to get a positive rejection letter that mentions something about your characterization lacking, then look no further.
This resource will give you the tools you need to make your characters come alive for readers.