Sunday, March 28, 2010

Creating Characters: How to Build Story People by Dwight V. Swain

Creating Characters: How to Build Story People by Dwight V. Swain is a book a fiction writer would definitely want to add to his/her permanent library.

When I saw this book available for purchase on, I knew I wanted to order it. I am not sorry I decided to purchase this book. The book is divided into seventeen chapters. In the preface Mr. Swain recommends selecting a chapter that addresses a particular problem area you need.

Since I planned to review the book for this blog, I read them all. My favorite chapter was "Fleshing Out" since one critique of my last manuscript was "Your characters are two dimensional". This chapter provided some good suggestions on how to give my characters depth.

Chapter Twelve talked about character descriptions and how choosing the right words to describe the characters was essential.

Chapter Thirteen revealed some techniques for writing good dialogue that would move the story along and show who the character was instead of telling.

Chapter Seventeen was "The Search for Zest", which addressed how to keep on writing and not lose the motivation to write.

I feel more confident that I can write better characters in my next book based on what I learned from Dwight Swain's book. If I have any questions, I know which book to pull off the shelf. The combination of notes I took and underlinings throughout the book should help me overcome difficulties I might experience at the time.

This is one more book I will keep close at hand because I know I will be rereading selected chapters many times in the future.


  1. LOL I have this book! Thanks for reminding me! I just dug it out. The problem of having too many "How To" books and then forgetting what you have.

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  3. Okay, Sue, another book I need to purchase. Looking through your copy at our weekend writer's retreat confirmed this.


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