Best Books This week’s writing tip is all about creating characters. When I first started writing, I read all kinds of books–fiction, non-fiction as well as books of poetry. I highly recommend writers to read as much as they can. When I began to write novels and screenplays, I wanted to learn more about creating the best kinds of characters. The Writer’s Digest is an excellent site for reference materials for writers. I remember discovering them and filling my bookshelves with all sorts of reference materials to sharpen my skills as a writer.

 

BEST BOOKS FOR CREATING CHARACTERS

The first book that I highly recommend is 45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt. This book gives examples of all types of characters and what types of characters compliment the character. So, say you have a needy character, he/she should be paired with someone strong to bring out their weaknesses. In this book, Schmidt gives detailed historical examples on everything from Shakespeare’s work to Dr. Spock, to Toni Morrison’s work. If you’re wondering why you love certain characters or why you hate them, Schmidt gives you the reasons behind what you’re feeling. If you are confused about what kinds of characters to partner with your main character, this book will serve as a sort of guideline.

 

The second book that I highly recommend is Creating Character Emotions by Ann Hood. What is a character if he/she doesn’t feel anything? Exactly. This book is helpful in teaching writers how to show and not tell in their writing. And, it also teaches you how to enliven character dialogue and emotions. It’s full of good and bad writing examples as well as exercises for you to utilize so that you have hands-on experience improving your character emotions. The book references many authors whose works you may be familiar with like James Baldwin, Charles Dickens, Emily Dickenson, Harper Lee, among others. The book is short but is packed of good insight to improve your writing.

 

ARE THESE BOOKS WORTH THE MONEY?

Whenever I’m considering new purchases, I always ask myself, “Is it worth the investment?” I will categorically say, “ALL BOOKS that teach you to improve your writing are worth the money.” I’ve had both of these books at least ten years and I’ve used them with at least five or six manuscripts. So, I’ve sold enough books to justify the combined cost of these two reference books. But, even if you haven’t sold ANY books yet. If the books cost $35 combined with shipping, and you eventually sell a book for $12.00. You only have to sell 3 books in order for these reference materials to pay for themselves.

 

So, if you want to improve your characters and character emotions, please check these books out. I hope this information was helpful. If you have any specific writing questions, please email me yshiraz@yasminshiraz.net and it could be featured in an upcoming article on this site.

 

Peace & Love,

Yasmin

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