A Little CCC Teaser

How does this work for you?

Intro to Create a Character Clinic

My objective in writing this book is simple. I want to show you, not just how to develop a character, but how to write your characters in a compelling fashion once you come up with them. There are all sorts of books that will tell you how put together interesting characteristics, with character backstory, with powerful motivations, and all the other things well-written characters need.

I have yet to find one, though, that takes the characteristics you’ve come up with and shows you how to apply them in such a way that your character lives and breathes on the page.

That’s what I intend to do.

I want to make this simple, and to break it down into steps and techniques that you can start following immediately. I’ll show you what I do, and then take you through doing it yourself.

And I want to keep it short — you shouldn’t have to wade through tons of words to find the few kernels of useful knowledge that you can start applying to your own work.

So that you can start using it right away, the book is divided into three sections.

* Section One is Ask Them Anything — Explanations and demonstrations of seven critical areas of character development, along with printable charts offering questions that will give you a well-rounded framework for your characters. Answer as few or as many questions as you need to get a feel for the people you’ll be writing about, and ask (and answer) more as you work through your story and need new twists and turns.

* Section Two is Bring Them To Life — A tutorial on how to put all the information you’ve developed into creating people who live on the page.

* Section Three is The Sins of Characterization (And How to Commit Them Right) — Believe it or not, everything you can ever do wrong in putting characters on the page, you can also do right. This section shows you when a sin can be a virtue, and vice-versa.

All three sections include demonstrations of both unpublishable and publishable approaches to techniques and problems, and exercises that allow you to put what you’ve learned into practice.

I want to make this as close as I can to me reading over your shoulder, looking at what you’ve done, and saying, “Okay. Here’s what you can try next to get that scene to work.”

With that in mind, I recommend that you work through this book from front to back. Answer some Section One questions, even if only a few; do a handful of Section Two exercises, just to learn how to extract interesting story from your Q&A; and then get into the sins and virtues, and begin to practice them.

Mine aren’t the only techniques out there — in fact, I don’t know of anyone else who works the way I do, and you may find that a lot of advice you’ve already received contradicts mine. That’s okay — not every technique will work for every writer. Pick out what helps you, feel free to discard the rest.

And good luck with your writing. I hope I can help you realize your dreams.

Holly Lisle

Does this look like what you’re looking for?

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

16 comments… add one
  • Breece Dec 5, 2005 @ 17:17

    Holly — One of the elements I value most about your willingness to help others is that you rarely — if ever — boast yours to be the One True Way. Your writerly advice and suggestions (here) often reflect this, so instead of hearing “this is how to do it right,” I find you’ve given me a handful of tools, a fundamental understanding of how to use them, AND a deep, driving enthusiasm to figure out how to make them work for me, my characters, and my stories.

    So yes’m … have credit card, or paypal, and Kinkos — will travel. It’s precisely what I’m eager to read. And, no pressure, or rush, really, butbutbut — every chance ya get — HURRY! 😀

  • KimiD Dec 5, 2005 @ 8:10

    I can’t wait for you to publish! This is going to be so helpful! Thanks

  • Angelique Dec 3, 2005 @ 7:16

    Absolutely. A different perspective on a difficult yet essential topic is always on my “must have” list 🙂

  • kilishan Dec 2, 2005 @ 12:01

    Holly – this sounds like just the book everyone can use. You’re right – there are a ton of books that tell you about coming up with backgrounds and such, but not much that does what you’re looking to do here. A wonderful niche that I am looking very forward to having.

    I was the one who asked about a print copy. I don’t know about everyone else, but if you went through Lulu, or something similar, the base cost would probably 10-12 dollars for a perfect bound, depending on the number of pages. Possibly less. Personally, I’d be more than happy to spend $20 – $25 on a copy. I’ve spent god only knows how much on other books that didn’t help nearly as much, and in nearly an accessible way, as this one sounds like it will.

  • Kayla Dec 1, 2005 @ 22:59

    Yes! A different angle to dive deeper into character development — I can’t wait!

  • Jason Penney Dec 1, 2005 @ 22:17

    I’ll definately be picking this up!

    Have you looked at any print-on-demand options? Even if it made the cover price high so you could make your monies worth, it would only be for those who want to pay it rather than have the e-book version, right?

    I wish “Mugging the Muse” was available in print. I lent out the copy I printed and I miss it.

    Jay

  • hollylisle Dec 1, 2005 @ 18:31

    From comments here, I’m glad I took the approach I did. I’m having a lot of fun writing the book, though I have no idea how long it’s going to be when I’m done. It contracted on me, but now it keeps expanding — I keep thinking of more cool things that make developing and writing characters exciting.

    My anticipated publication date for it is January 1st, and I’m doing my best not to be responsible for that date being pushed back.

    In another thread, someone asked about a print version. I’m still considering it, but I’ve priced around with printers, and I’ll need to have a significant stack of cash to do a print run large enough to make the per-copy price reasonable. We’ll see how the e-book version does; if I can afford to roll over some of the money into a print version, I will.

  • Carolyn Bahm Dec 1, 2005 @ 13:27

    This *does* sound truly useful. I’m looking forward to the book!

    FYI, some feedback from a new reader & commenter on this (excellent) blog: The signup process for being able to add comments to your blog had a glitch for me — it wouldn’t let me change the password or add any new info to the profile. I’ll try again later — just wanted to let you know.

    Holly says: Hmm. Not sure what might be going wrong. I’ll check my installation. Try clearing your browser cache, too. That sometimes helps clear up these things.

  • TinaK Dec 1, 2005 @ 13:22

    Sounds exactly like what I’d need. How long do we have to wait? *grin*

  • PJ Dec 1, 2005 @ 12:11

    (Looks at calendar) How long do we have to wait for this again? 🙂

    Sounds exactly like what a lot of books on character aren’t – straight and to the point.

    Thanks for all the work you’re doing!

    ~PJ~

  • Linda Dec 1, 2005 @ 11:51

    Looks really good, Holly. I’m looking forward to it. 🙂

  • prayleen Dec 1, 2005 @ 10:40

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. I am also staring at a nanowrimo first draft, and trying to find my way to make it into my first novel. This character method is something I need.

  • Miss Nienke Dec 1, 2005 @ 10:06

    Sounds like what I’m looking for. I have no problem developing backstory and motivational characteristics. What’s hard for me is how to develop those qualities and then “show” them by character behaviours and reactions that are unique.
    Got my credit card ready…

  • arrvee Dec 1, 2005 @ 10:01

    Bingo!

  • Rowan Dec 1, 2005 @ 9:43

    You must have been reading my mind. That is exactly the kind of resource I would love. Can’t wait to get my hands on it.

  • PolarBear Dec 1, 2005 @ 9:23

    Sounds fantastic. Can’t wait for the finished product.

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