Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
Orson Scott Card’s Character & Viewpoint has a lot packed into a few pages. He takes you from the first stages of character development (i.e. what makes a character? how do we create them?) to fully fleshed-out character creation (i.e. types of characters, emotional stakes, and believability), and he ends with a detailed section on viewpoint.
The main goal of the book is to guide you through the importance of characterization in storytelling. Character, viewpoint, plot, and conflict are all intertwined, and Card walks you through the why and the how of it. I’m a fan of Orson Scott Card’s fiction anyway, so reading how he creates his amazing characters was both fascinating and helpful. I especially liked the section on “First Impressions” in which he describes the various ways we can create a character our readers instantly want to read about. (And clearly he knows how to do that — uh, wasn’t Ender one of the coolest characters you’ve ever read about?)
For beginners, this book is an invaluable resource. It provides you with all the information you need to start creating high-quality characters, utilizing viewpoint effectively, and understanding how these aspects are so closely tied to storytelling. However, for the advanced writer, there is likely nothing new offered in Card’s book — unless you’re just curious (as I was) about how a master craftsman works.
Other Resources in my Writer’s Review Series: