Stein on Writing

by | Sep 17, 2008 | Fiction Book Reviews | 0 comments

No, this book is not a new Christian fiction release. It is actually a nonfiction book penned by masterful storyteller and author Sol Stein. His insites to crafting a novel are brilliant and opened my mind to new ways of developing characters in my stories. Chapter 5 Competing With God: Making Fascinating People not only introduced me to five different ways to characterize, but also gave suggestions on developing more thorough knowledge of my characters.

According to Stein, the five different ways to characterize are:
1. Through physical attributes
2. With clothing or the manner of wearing clothing
3. Through psychological attributes and mannerisms
4. Through actions
5. In dialogue

Later on in the chapter, Stein defines eccentricity as it relates to good characterization. He also suggests ways to ‘get to know’ your character, like: having a discussion with your character as they ‘imaginarily’ sit in an armchair across from you (I’ve done this before, but my characters were usually following me through the house or sitting in the passenger seat of my car); imagine the character as very old and see what they’d be like; or imagined your character has dressed up in kids’ clothes….what would he/she look like?

Those are just some of the charms of Chapter 5 in Stein. Chapter Six seems to flow from Chapter 5, so I look forward to discovering more.


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