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Writing the Intimate Character: Mastering Point of View and Characterization in Fiction

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Craft Vibrant Characters and an Intimate Reading Experience The key to excellent fiction lies in its characters: the unforgettable protagonists, antagonists, and secondary characters who populate the world of your story. Understanding and effectively using point of view allows you to write a powerful narrative that draws readers in and engages them with characters in a mean Craft Vibrant Characters and an Intimate Reading Experience The key to excellent fiction lies in its characters: the unforgettable protagonists, antagonists, and secondary characters who populate the world of your story. Understanding and effectively using point of view allows you to write a powerful narrative that draws readers in and engages them with characters in a meaningful way. Through a blend of practical instruction, useful examples, and helpful exercises, Writing the Intimate Character shows you how to create the experience of living through a character rather than just reading about one. Inside, you'll learn: -The functions and benefits of first-person, third-person intimate, omniscient, and second-person points of view. -How to apply character cues--specific behaviors, sensory perceptions, dialogue, and visual imagery--to develop a realistic protagonist and secondary cast. -The surface and subset feelings that get to the root of your character’s emotions. -How different viewpoints affect the story you want to tell. Writing the Intimate Character helps you craft a novel in which readers can experience your characters' senses, dive inside their minds, and truly feel their emotions.


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Craft Vibrant Characters and an Intimate Reading Experience The key to excellent fiction lies in its characters: the unforgettable protagonists, antagonists, and secondary characters who populate the world of your story. Understanding and effectively using point of view allows you to write a powerful narrative that draws readers in and engages them with characters in a mean Craft Vibrant Characters and an Intimate Reading Experience The key to excellent fiction lies in its characters: the unforgettable protagonists, antagonists, and secondary characters who populate the world of your story. Understanding and effectively using point of view allows you to write a powerful narrative that draws readers in and engages them with characters in a meaningful way. Through a blend of practical instruction, useful examples, and helpful exercises, Writing the Intimate Character shows you how to create the experience of living through a character rather than just reading about one. Inside, you'll learn: -The functions and benefits of first-person, third-person intimate, omniscient, and second-person points of view. -How to apply character cues--specific behaviors, sensory perceptions, dialogue, and visual imagery--to develop a realistic protagonist and secondary cast. -The surface and subset feelings that get to the root of your character’s emotions. -How different viewpoints affect the story you want to tell. Writing the Intimate Character helps you craft a novel in which readers can experience your characters' senses, dive inside their minds, and truly feel their emotions.

30 review for Writing the Intimate Character: Mastering Point of View and Characterization in Fiction

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    This book was such a huge help! It clarified so many things for me and I found is especially helpful as someone who is trying to get a firmer grip on writing a third person multiple POV novel. I ended up writing notes in this one and will be keeping it on my desk for quick reference.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Marjorie

    "Writing the intimate Character"by Jordan Rosenfeld was difficult at times for me to follow. I think because of the intricacies of point of view concepts; it is a challenging subject to master. This is a book that I will have to read over and over again to really achieve the thorough understanding I desire. "Writing the intimate Character"by Jordan Rosenfeld was difficult at times for me to follow. I think because of the intricacies of point of view concepts; it is a challenging subject to master. This is a book that I will have to read over and over again to really achieve the thorough understanding I desire.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mohammad Sadegh Rasooli

    http://delsharm.blog.ir/1397/05/20/in... برخلاف بسیاری از کتاب‌های مرتبط با داستان‌نویسی که مملو هستند از خاطره‌های شخصی نویسنده -بخوانید الگوسازی ناخودآگاه نویسنده از خود- این کتاب خیلی شسته‌رفته به سراغ یکی از ابعاد مهم داستان، یعنی شخصیت، رفته است. مبنای تعریف شخصیت از نگاه این کتاب ارتباط تنگاتنگ با «زاویهٔ دید» دارد. یعنی با زاویهٔ دید و روایت بر مبنای آن است که شخصیت به مرور زمان ساخته می‌شود. شخصیت باید در کنش با گره‌هایی که برایش ایجاد می‌شود دچار مشکل شود. در واقع اگر نقش اول داستان در پ http://delsharm.blog.ir/1397/05/20/in... برخلاف بسیاری از کتاب‌های مرتبط با داستان‌نویسی که مملو هستند از خاطره‌های شخصی نویسنده -بخوانید الگوسازی ناخودآگاه نویسنده از خود- این کتاب خیلی شسته‌رفته به سراغ یکی از ابعاد مهم داستان، یعنی شخصیت، رفته است. مبنای تعریف شخصیت از نگاه این کتاب ارتباط تنگاتنگ با «زاویهٔ دید» دارد. یعنی با زاویهٔ دید و روایت بر مبنای آن است که شخصیت به مرور زمان ساخته می‌شود. شخصیت باید در کنش با گره‌هایی که برایش ایجاد می‌شود دچار مشکل شود. در واقع اگر نقش اول داستان در پایان داستان هیچ تغییری در رفتار یا منش یا بینش نداشته باشد، احتمالاً یک جای داستان می‌لنگد (در کتاب «سفر نویسنده» به این مسأله مفصلاً پرداخته شده است). زاویهٔ دید معمولاً چهارگونه است: ۱) دانای کل: نویسنده مانند خداست و از همه چیز اطلاع دارد. در یک پاراگراف داستان از قاب نگاه یک شخصیت می‌نویسد و در پاراگراف بعدی به سراغ دیگری می‌رود. بعضی وقت‌ها هم پیشینه یا حتی آیندهٔ شخصیت‌ها را می‌گوید. زاویهٔ دید دانای کل در رمان‌های کلاسیک فراوان‌تر بوده‌اند و بعد از فراگیر شدن سینما اقبال به این گونه از داستان‌نویسی کم شده است. دانای کل در ظاهر ساده است چون نویسنده می‌تواند به سادگی زاویهٔ قاب روایت را بچرخاند و از دید دیگری فضا را توصیف کند اما دقیقاً به همین دلیل ممکن است نویسنده به دام اطناب یا آوردن جزئیات بی‌ربط بیفتد. ۲) اول شخص: شخصیت قهرمان خودش داستان را روایت می‌کند. اینجا یک قابلیت قوی و یک محدودیت دست و پاگیر برای نویسنده وجود دارد. قابلیت قوی همانا توان ایجاد جریان سیال خیال و بیان مستقیم عواطف شخصیت اصلی داستان است. به همین خاطر شخصیت‌پردازی در اول شخص ساده است. از سوی دیگر، به خاطر آن که داستان صرفاً از قاب نگاه یک نفر گفته می‌شود، داستان فقط در جایی جریان دارد که شخصیت در آن حضور داشته باشد. ۳) سوم شخص: شبیه به اول شخص است با دو تفاوت. اولین تفاوت که واضح است و آن این که نویسنده شخصیت را توصیف می‌کند به جای آن شخصیت از خودش بگوید. دومی‌اش آن است که نزدیکی روایت در سوم شخص منعطف است (مانند فاصلهٔ دوربین از بازیگر در سینما). نویسندهٔ این کتاب تأکید دارد که روایت سوم شخص صمیمی تقریباً برابر است با اول شخص با این تفاوت که ضمیر غیر استفاده شده است. در سوم شخص صمیمی نویسنده به اطلاعات مرتبط با عواطف و تفکر شخصیت اول دسترسی دارد ولی در مورد دیگر شخصیت‌های داستان آن‌ها را فقط از قاب نگاه شخصیت اول می‌بیند. ۴)‌ دوم شخص: کم استفاده شده ولی برای افزایش صمیمیت و هم‌ذات‌پنداری خواننده مناسب است. در روایت شخصیت رعایت چند نکته باعث می‌شود شخصیت جا بیفتد و به اصطلاح خوب دربیاید. رفتار شخصیت در حین گفتگو یا صحنه‌های داستانی، ظاهر جسمانی و نوع پوشش شخصیت، نوع واکنش شخصیت به گرهی که در روند داستانی برای او پیش می‌آید و نوع توصیف دیگران از نگاه شخصیت همه کمک به پرداخت شخصیت می‌کنند. این کتاب در مورد اشتباهات رایج در پرداخت شخصیت از جنبهٔ نوع روایت، گفتگو، گذشتهٔ شخصیت (بک‌استوری)، و صحنه توضیحات مفصلی داده است اما در این خلاصهٔ چندخطی من نمی‌گنجد. نکتهٔ‌ جالب توجه این کتابْ پرداختن به تکنیک‌های جدید داستان‌نویسی مثل تلفیق زاویهٔ دید، داستان‌های سورئال، استفاده از زبان اینترنت، و داستان‌های تکه‌تکه است. مخلص کلام این که این کتاب از آن کتاب‌هایی نیست که بیش از حد تخصصی باشد و شبیه نقد ادبی باشد. هدف کتاب آن است که اطلاعات مفید و مهم در مورد شخصیت‌پردازی داستانی به خواننده رسانده شود. با توجه به سال انتشار آن -۲۰۱۶- احتمالاً هنوز این کتاب به فارسی ترجمه نشده است.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Pat Camalliere

    I know so much more about point of view after reading this book, and the exercises will be useful. There were a few places where I wished the author had given more detail, but some material is self-limiting and I don’t expect to find absolutely everything in a single book. This may be the single best book I have read on creating unforgettable characters and I highly recommend it to writers, wherever they are in their writing lives.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Bunnell

    I read this writing craft book while on vacation from my day job and while avoiding working on my own writing. It was research! Okay, not really, but it was a good craft book with lots of great examples about using different POVs and how that impacts the character depth potential for readers. The examples from popular fiction were helpful, and pointed out a book or two that I might want to add to my TBR (although I'd already read most of her examples). The explanations she gave made sense and we I read this writing craft book while on vacation from my day job and while avoiding working on my own writing. It was research! Okay, not really, but it was a good craft book with lots of great examples about using different POVs and how that impacts the character depth potential for readers. The examples from popular fiction were helpful, and pointed out a book or two that I might want to add to my TBR (although I'd already read most of her examples). The explanations she gave made sense and were consistent with what I'd read from other books on writing, including one of my personal favorites, Lisa Cron's Story Genius. I was a little confused in her chapter about multiple POVs when she mentioned multiple protagonists, though, as she gave some examples of changing POV from books that I don't think actually have multiple protagonists, but still have some scenes from other POVs. That whole chapter confused me. I do agree that if you have alternating 1st person POV, make it clear which person is "I" when it changes, especially for the audiobook readers who don't see page breaks. Seriously, this is a thing. Make it clear, especially if you're switching over to continue a scene from the alternative POV as is somewhat common in romance. Most shocking thing: She didn't totally dismiss writing in the second person and actually explained the difference between second person talking to the reader vs. second person talking to another character. Kudos on that.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Burkey

    I have now finished my second reading of Writing the Intimate Character, and it is likely not my last. I first read it cover to cover to get the full impact. Then I returned to go through it slower and do the exercises at the end of each chapter that pertained to my current manuscript. I found it enlightening, insightful, and it certainly helped me think more clearly about my protagonist and other characters. It goes beyond character development to help think about the pace and rhythm of narrati I have now finished my second reading of Writing the Intimate Character, and it is likely not my last. I first read it cover to cover to get the full impact. Then I returned to go through it slower and do the exercises at the end of each chapter that pertained to my current manuscript. I found it enlightening, insightful, and it certainly helped me think more clearly about my protagonist and other characters. It goes beyond character development to help think about the pace and rhythm of narrative voice, dialogue, and internal monologue as well as to help authors evaluate the most effective point of view for their work. I highly recommend this book and will be buying other books by this author. Interestingly, I was fortunate enough to meet the author at the San Francisco Writers Conference this year and subsequently took a workshop from her in Corte Madera. I was impressed not only with what she had to say, but with what she brought out in my work and that of the other authors as we worked through some of the exercises (which I usually hate to do in those kinds of settings!...don't operate well under time pressures, yet...it was fabulous). I just had to have this book...and it surpassed my expectations.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sacha Black

    Fantastic book for writers, with in depth examples and details suggestions, tips and advice on how to develop your characters. The book is angled from the perspective of developing your characters via the point of view you choose and therefore much of the content is themed this way and has wonderful explanations of how to achieve that depth in each type of POV. I’d recommend this book to fellow writers.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kate Finegan

    It's great to have such a thoughtful, thorough exploration of point-of-view that relies on examples and weighs the pros and cons of different POVs without being prescriptive. I find the organization of the text at times confusing, as you have to flip from section to section to find, for instance, all the resources on third-person limited, and I would have liked even more examples to illustrate the various concepts. But this is, all in all, a great book on a difficult aspect of craft. It's great to have such a thoughtful, thorough exploration of point-of-view that relies on examples and weighs the pros and cons of different POVs without being prescriptive. I find the organization of the text at times confusing, as you have to flip from section to section to find, for instance, all the resources on third-person limited, and I would have liked even more examples to illustrate the various concepts. But this is, all in all, a great book on a difficult aspect of craft.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Marc Buelens

    Very unbalanced. Some brilliant chapters, some very boring ones. Exhaustive discussion of Point of View, including Second Person. The author has become victim of her own rigid structure. Some very recent examples, also from genre fiction, but also too many poor examples. The final chapters deal with subjects that are not covered by other books. Some are very interesting, e.g. chorus of first-person plural point of view.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Valerie

    Excellent book on characters and point of view. I love the exercises at the end of each chapter. My writing has improved because of this book. So many questions were answered in a thorough and simple way. Every emerging writer needs to read this book. This will be one of my go to books as I develop my writing craft long into the future.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Lawton

    Jordan's writing guides are always deep and insightful. Writing the Intimate Character continues her fresh treatment of writing challenges--in this volume, p.o.v. and characterization. I revel in her deep reading, original thought, positive outlook. Helpful to author and reader alike. Jordan's writing guides are always deep and insightful. Writing the Intimate Character continues her fresh treatment of writing challenges--in this volume, p.o.v. and characterization. I revel in her deep reading, original thought, positive outlook. Helpful to author and reader alike.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    Excellent resource for writers! The author provides plenty of great examples and breaks down point of view, technique etc...in a very easily digestible way. It's the kind of book I will come back to again while I am writing. Excellent resource for writers! The author provides plenty of great examples and breaks down point of view, technique etc...in a very easily digestible way. It's the kind of book I will come back to again while I am writing.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Fontaine

    This book contains so much useful information about point of view and character perspective that I've marked a bunch of pages that I'll be reading over and over again for the rest of my writing career. This book contains so much useful information about point of view and character perspective that I've marked a bunch of pages that I'll be reading over and over again for the rest of my writing career.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Hots Hartley

    Focused too much on point-of-view and main character. Expected more about general character creation, including allies, antagonists, and supporting cast.

  15. 5 out of 5

    G

    Really helpful information about POV as well as what she calls “Energetic Markers.” These correspond to points or steps along the hero’s journey as well. Easy to read & digest as are all her books.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Margery Bayne

    "What I most want to imprint on you is that how your story is intimately linked who is telling it." In "Writing the Intimate Character" Rosenfeld explores in depth how characters are built, revealed, and growth through the actual writing in the story via point of voice and voice. While this wasn't groundbreaking knowledge for me as I have picked up these ideas through years of reading other writing advice and much practice, Rosenfeld definitely is exploring an angle that isn't explored a lot in "What I most want to imprint on you is that how your story is intimately linked who is telling it." In "Writing the Intimate Character" Rosenfeld explores in depth how characters are built, revealed, and growth through the actual writing in the story via point of voice and voice. While this wasn't groundbreaking knowledge for me as I have picked up these ideas through years of reading other writing advice and much practice, Rosenfeld definitely is exploring an angle that isn't explored a lot in your typical, surface-level, or beginner writing book, which is how character and point of view/narration/voice are inherently. He also explains how to do it, which is another step above the typical, surface-level, or beginner writing book which like to make pronouncements without exploration into the deep work of creation and editing. He also does a good job at distinguishing between his personal preferences and writing guidance at large. This is would be a good read for the intermediate writer trying to get to the next level. I also found it inspiring to try out some new techniques.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    I spent most of my weekend reading this book and trying out the exercises suggested by Rosenfeld. The book is well-written and very complete; it examines point-of-view and character/plot from many different angles. It helped me wrap my head around my existing ideas while opening me up to new ones. It's obviously hit or miss, but a lot of books use examples from classics I've never read. Rosenfeld used contemporary novels that I admire, so it made the experience just that much better and personal I spent most of my weekend reading this book and trying out the exercises suggested by Rosenfeld. The book is well-written and very complete; it examines point-of-view and character/plot from many different angles. It helped me wrap my head around my existing ideas while opening me up to new ones. It's obviously hit or miss, but a lot of books use examples from classics I've never read. Rosenfeld used contemporary novels that I admire, so it made the experience just that much better and personal.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Russell Ricard

    Jordan Rosenfeld is an expert on storytelling craft, having published many books on the subject. And she never disappoints. Her books offer insightful and intimate exploration of how writers can dig deep, and strategize to tell better stories; always told in a narrative voice that is accessible, as in conversational, witty, as in playful, and knowledgeable, as in a mentor to mentee tone. And now, in Rosenfeld’s new book, WRITING THE INTIMATE CHARACTER, I’ve found yet another great addition to my Jordan Rosenfeld is an expert on storytelling craft, having published many books on the subject. And she never disappoints. Her books offer insightful and intimate exploration of how writers can dig deep, and strategize to tell better stories; always told in a narrative voice that is accessible, as in conversational, witty, as in playful, and knowledgeable, as in a mentor to mentee tone. And now, in Rosenfeld’s new book, WRITING THE INTIMATE CHARACTER, I’ve found yet another great addition to my writer’s bookshelf, and toolbox—with many nuggets of wisdom to call upon as I move ahead through future manuscripts; and rewrite those that already exist. Writing is rewriting, isn’t it? WRITING THE INTIMATE CHARACTER delves into the psychology of the writer’s process, or at least offers different ways of thinking of the process as a connection between her or his psychology, which can inform the characters that he or she chooses to develop; and also intimately is tied to the Point of View chosen to tell her or his story. That said, it’s good for us writers to think, more intimately, about how character informs Point Of View, and vice versa. And Rosenfeld helps facilitate this with an exploration, for example, of “Surface” (as in what the character feels on a base level) versus “Subset Cues” (as in what’s beneath those layers) to think about when crafting characters. Of the intimate character, Rosenfeld says: “Here are the basic cues you can use to demonstrate character emotion and experience” (p.54). And throughout the book she then offers examples, across all genres, of how Physical-Action Cues, Sensory Cues, Dialogue Cues, Other Characters’ Reactions, and also Interior Monologue Cues, and Image Cues come into play for helping define characters, and within whichever narrative Point Of View is used to help demonstrate the characters. In fact, I am pleased to have been exposed to so many different examples from varied genres in the book, and how (no matter if you’re writing Literary Fiction, Sci-Fi, Mystery, YA, Thriller, etc.) getting “intimate” with your characters is possible, and only strengthens your story. Unless you write, or read in the various genres, you might not make the connection, but this book helps give me a better understanding/working knowledge of how important selecting the appropriate narrative point of view (first, 2nd, 3rd, Omniscient, etc. and all their variations) is for your particular story, and hos it relates to character development and story ac. As well, my curiosity to explore more genres, and other narrative points of view is now encouraged after reading this book. (Actually, I now realize that I, the writer, can perhaps fix the problem with the protagonist of a story, with whom I’ve long struggled. Maybe it’s the point of view I was using that wasn’t working well for the intimacy of that protagonist? Only another draft will tell.) And, aside from such revelations I mention above, wonderful nuggets and insight come from the short, yet truly effective, end-of-chapter “NOW YOU” exercises, where Rosenfeld offers a chance for practical application of the material covered in each chapter. (And, at the very end of the book, there are more exercises that I’m certain also will help aid me in crafting many stories to come). In essence, this is why we writers can benefit from reading about, and exercising our craft—no matter how experienced we are. Add WRITING THE INTIMATE CHARACTER to your writer’s bookshelf (or even, if you’re only a reader), because it’ll give you a better understanding of how to become more intimate with the characters you decide to follow through any given story.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    Excellent discussion of POV and characterization. Lots of exercises I'm going to try on my next project. Excellent discussion of POV and characterization. Lots of exercises I'm going to try on my next project.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    There was some really great info here, but the format didn't work for me. I wish the author had gone a little deeper into each subject on its own rather than relying so heavily on repetitive examples. There was some really great info here, but the format didn't work for me. I wish the author had gone a little deeper into each subject on its own rather than relying so heavily on repetitive examples.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Brigid

  22. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rose

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tessa

  25. 4 out of 5

    Abbey

  26. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

  27. 5 out of 5

    L.A. Jacob

  28. 5 out of 5

    AmazonHowl

  29. 5 out of 5

    Gail

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lily

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