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Top Reads for Characterisation

Updated on September 6, 2012

These are my favourite recommendations for writers looking for help with characterisation.

100 Simple Ways to Become a More Inspired, Successful and Fearless Writer:

by Jennifer Lawler

Authors often suggest a way of becoming a better writer by turning to their own personal experience. Jennifer Lawler is a martial arts expert. In fact, she reveals that the two arts have much in common. They both require focus, discipline and perseverance if you are to be a successful professional. In her writing, she gathers for aspiring and actual writers 100 ways to hold onto your sometime allusive inspiration, and achieve and maintain success. This book reveals to you how not to hold back, how to keep on your decided path, letting your intuition guide you. By the final chapter’s end, you will discover how to become a warrior writer.

Dynamic Characters: How to Create Personalities That Keep Readers Captivated

by Nancy Kress

Characterization – when they use this device properly, authors can move you. They can make you weep when you reach the end of the book. Why? Because, no longer will you be able to be a part of these individuals’ lives. To create such people, to fully flesh them out, is a daunting task. In this book, Nancy Cress guides you through the process. She helps you learn how to construct characters complete with motivations and emotional appeal. Moreover, she helps you discover how to make them come so alive, your readers will be sad when your story ends. This is part of building a connection between the author’s words and the reader. Cress, in this guide, provides you, whether you are working on a novel, novella, short story or magazine article, all the basic tools you need to turn stock characters into living, breathing entities.

Teaching Writing: Balancing Process and Product, Fourth Edition

by Gail E. Tompkins

Are you a parent with a child in the grades from K through to 8? Are you a teacher who has students who fall within this age range? If you say, “Yes,” to any of the above, consider yourself lucky this book exists. It is the ideal guide to show children the distinction between the writing process and the end product. The material, written in an easy to understand fashion, progresses in an orderly fashion providing both teachers and parents a simple way to help children understand the concepts. To help ensure success, the author provides assistance by including samples of writing from all age groups. As a further aid, and to help enliven the process, Tompkins includes various suggestions for workshops in writing. These cater to all the grades. Within the work, you will also find tips and various suggestions to help you monitor the overall process and progress for all students. To make the book complete, Tompkins also provides a list of children’s literature. It matches and fully complements the information contained within the book. Overall, an intelligent and extremely helpful book for those with children in K-grade 8.

The Pocket Muse: Ideas & Inspirations for Writing

by Monica Wood

For some, a lack of talent interferes with writing and/or the great novel; for others it is a specific mindset. While little can be done to correct the former, this book can help you with the latter problem. Monica Wood has compiled a multitude of ideas and inspirational suggestions to help you get beyond that writer’s block. It is geared to move you from the first page to the final edit. The author provides you not simply with explanations and illustrations. She goes beyond illustrations and provides exercises to get you moving. This remarkable little book guides you past the writer’s block and accompanying frustration. It gently helps you learn ways of keeping things interesting as well as ensuring you can continue to do so. From making money to how to be a creative thinker, are all included in this work. Yet, what sets this above many “how-to” guides or inspirational tomes is the tone. Wood understands that a little humor helps the medicine go down. You learn how to do everything required and enjoy doing so.

The Renegade Writer : A Totally Innovative Guide to Freelance Writing Success

by Linda Formichelli, Diana Burrell

So, you are a writer. How do you make it as a freelancer and not remain a wanna-be? For some innovative approaches, read this book. The authors instruct you on how to break the traditional rules, including those governing self-marketing. Want independence and economic success? This book provides you with the basics to achieve this. Forget about all those lengthy books addressing the various issues of freelance writing. This book contains all the advice you will ever need on the subject. The authors do not weave castles in the air. They supply you with no nonsense, solid advice. They also know what they are talking about. As experienced authors for over ten national magazines this duo is capable of passing on what they have learned and then some. Whether you are a novice or still on the lowest rungs, they are able to help you through the maze. With a little dash of humor and sassiness, they dispense advice and address serious issues that affect those who write or are trying to write for a living.

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    • wrenfrost56 profile image


      6 years ago from U.K.

      Very good list, really useful thanks. I especially like the idea of comparing martial arts to writing, I would never have thought of that, I think it would make for an interesting read. :)

    • Mandeeadair profile image


      6 years ago from California

      Great ideas and book recommendations!! Voted up and useful. Thank you!


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