Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wednesday=Book Review Time--learning the craft

Up for today: CHARACTERS AND VIEWPOINT by Orson Scott Card

Product Details

Why I bought it? I attended Card's writing class in the summer, and lots of students there had the book and kept referring to it thinking it was great.

Synopsis: This is one in a series of books on writing by different authors put out by Writer's Digest. Card goes into his theories about what makes characters compelling and the positives and negatives of different types of viewpoints.

What I thought? It was an excellent review of the course I took--more in depth with more examples. The thing that I especially liked about this book was how practical and down to earth it was. It has been incredibly helpful to me in evaluating what I'm doing right and wrong in my writing. The questions he tells us to ask ourselves have been invaluable in helping me make my work better. There were several times when I was reading a section on mistakes beginners make, and I saw my own work in his examples. In recognizing myself I could pinpoint some of my weaknesses. At least, I found the solutions along with the problems. So! Yea! Some of the examples are a bit dated, since it was written quite a few years ago, but they are still understandable (and I don't think it's just because I'm a bit older).

My daughter's thoughts--While I was reading it, Elizabeth kept looking at the book with longing. She'd ask, "You're still not finished with that?" I was taking my time, highlighting, reviewing, and processing/digesting. When I finished, I handed it over, and she jumped right in. She says it has been extremely helpful and is taking her time working through it just as I did. Her rating: 4-5 stars--she wouldn't commit, since she still hadn't finished when I asked.

My Rating: ***** out of 5, I went online to see what others thought for this one (I was afraid I might have been biased because I had taken his class), and on Amazon it has a 4 1/2 star average rating with 75 people weighing in. So there you have it. I suppose I'm not any more biased than other people.

Cleanness Score: 4 out of 10, There's a little bit of language but not much and not strong words, and there are a few examples that are fairly racy but not explicit.


Anna said...

I LOVE this book! I teach a writing course in which I use a few excerpts from the book and the students always find them extremely helpful.

Annie Louden said...

Thanks for the review! I'm adding this to my wishlist.

lotusgirl said...

Anna, That's great for your students. They're way ahead of the game.

Annie, I'm sure you'll find the book helpful. I hope anyway.

Lady Glamis said...

Sounds wonderful! I'm adding it to my list. :)

Pen Pen said...

Card is one of my all time favorite authors- 'Enders Game' changed my writing in a big way! I had NO idea he had books on writing, but I'm gonna see if it's at the library tomorrow, cuz I've been having point of view problems.
Thanks for bringing it out for me to know!!

Ann Victor said...

Hmm. I've had this book on my TBR pile for a while now. From your review, it may be time for me to blow the dust off it and move it to the top of the pile!

Crimogenic said...

I'm currently reading The Mind of Your Story which I find quite interesting and like you, I'm taking my time to read it and highlight examples. I also read Card's book on writing science fiction years ago.

Kelly H-Y said...

How cool that your daughter was interested in it too! Thanks for the heads-up regarding this book!

Solvang Sherrie said...

Thanks for the recommendation. I love reading books on writing.