Finally, years after I wrote the perennially popular Mugging the Muse: Writing Fiction for Love AND Money — (now and forever after available as a free download from this site) — I’m working on another non-fiction writing book, this one on the single-most-requested subject on this site.
How to create good characters.
I’m doing the book as an intensive clinic, meaning you’ll be able to use it either to strengthen characters you’ve already written, or to create new characters from scratch. I’ll include (as I have it outlined right now) techniques I use for developing seven critical areas in each of my characters; essential questions in each area that I ask to get my characters to live for me; examples of how I’ve put each area into practice in my own work; exercises that will teach you to use and refine these techniques in your own work; and finally, the techniques I use to connect characters to each other both on the surface and in hidden ways. These final techniques permit me to achieve a lot of the surprise twists that exist in my work. I’ll include exercises that will teach you how to do that, too.
My agent has vetoed sales of nonfiction to publishers for now because books on writing tend to sell in very low numbers compared to fiction by the same author, but are still counted as your most-recent numbers, which gives you bad last sales to take to your next negotiations. We don’t need to be messing with my sales numbers.
But books I sell myself don’t count. So I’ve located a quality printing operation that will allow me to offer the workbook in a ring-bound format. This format will make it possible for you to print out worksheets and other goodies rather than writing directly in the book. I’ll also be offering it as a downloadable e-book for people who want immediate delivery and a significant price discount.
I’m excited about this; people have been requesting a book on character creation for years. And if it goes over well, I’ll make some time to do a book on the second-most-requested subject people ask me about — worldbuilding my way.
My target pub date for the Create A Character Clinic is Jan, 2006. We’ll see how that goes.