The Crafting Characters Series #1

Red hardcover book with flipping pages

The Crafting Characters Series #1

This brings the start of another series to this blog. All about crafting characters. Creating believable fully rounded characters with the depth necessary to make your readers keep turning those pages is really difficult. I am still learning how to do it. It’s one of the things, as I start to edit the first half of my WIP that I am going to focus on. I thought I would share some of the things I learn, the tips I find and any advice I’m given as I craft my characters. I thought it would be helpful to share the struggles, successes and lessons I learn along the way.

The first thing I wanted to share was some books that I find absolutely invaluable.

emotion thesarus

The Emotion Thesaurus  by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

The blurb says: One of the biggest problem areas for writers is conveying a character’s emotions to the reader in a unique, compelling way. This book comes to the rescue by highlighting 75 emotions and listing the possible body language cues, thoughts, and visceral responses for each. Using its easy-to-navigate list format, readers can draw inspiration from character cues that range in intensity to match any emotional moment. The Emotion Thesaurus also tackles common emotion-related writing problems and provides methods to overcome them. This writing tool encourages writers to show, not tell emotion and is a creative brainstorming resource for any fiction project.

This book is like my own personal bible. It’s one of my key books in my reference collection for writing. If I am getting my laptop out to write, then that book comes out with it. It’s scruffy, battered, covered in coffee stains and has food crumbled in between the pages, but it really is one of the best books I own for writing. It takes an emotion – say ‘confidence’ and it gives you a definition, an entire page of physical signs of confidence – what a person who was confident would do with their body, how they express confidence and the reactions they have, they describe the internal sensations and mental responses. What long term confidence can lead to and what suppressed confidence might look like. And they do this for every emotion – of which there are a LOT in the book. I recommend this book whole heartedly when at the beginning of creating and crafting any new character.

I hope this has helped, let me know what you thought, and what you might like to see in this series.

30 comments

    1. Yep i have the sister books too – they will get a mention soo too, not sure how i would find it on a kindle though. I love my kindle and read a ton of fiction on it, but theres something about a reference book that means i need it infront of me. My brain needs to interact with it on the page in order to learn and create. You really should look at them Keith, it has really helped me to develop my characters and ability to show not tell. 🙂

    1. Its THE best one! It has two sister books which i will mention at a later date but they are equally as good (positive and negative traits) i am going to publish a new page shortly with my reference collection and what was useful / good 🙂

      What books have you found useful?

      1. I loved listening to Stephen King’s book “On Writing”. It was both a fascinating insight into the mind of the writer and his life, and a bounty of writing tips and advice.

  1. Thanks so much for the kind mention, Sasha–so very glad you are finding the ET a good book to help you write! Other writing books to check out: KM Weiland’s Structure Your Novel, Snyder’s Save the Cat, Hauge’s Writing Screenplays that Sell (really good for understanding character motivation & arc!), James Scott Bell’s Write From The Middle and Maass’ 21st Century Fiction. Highly recommend all of these! 🙂

    1. OHHHHHHHH MYYYYY GOSSSSSH. You are the author and u just wrote on my blog, I think I might die of excitement. 🙂 :). Your book has changed my life, LITERALLY. As I said in my blog it’s just fantastic and helps me so much in developing characters and showing not telling. I also bought all the sister books (positive and negative traits) also equally brilliant. Which I will feature in a blog to come shortly. Also developing a reference page for all my writing reference books which I will post up (and include your books)

      I will be sure to check out those other books too.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to come and write on my blog. You just made my year 😄

  2. Sorry to be the come down after your fainting fit (having a visit for an actual author is so neat – jel, me? Nah!). Excellent post though, Sacha and I will have a dander at said books. Sound v useful.

    1. Lol! It’s only because I REAAAAAAALLY love the book and it’s made such a huge difference to my writing. And it was more the absolute shock of seeing the author on my post! Wasn’t expecting it you see!

      But you absolutely should check it and its sister books out 🙂

      1. done and bought (like you, I’m a hard copy reference man – I nearly typed hard core reference man which would be singularly inappropriate and have the google watch people on me). Thanks again for the tip

          1. My daughter, the Vet of my blog, applied for a placement at London Zoo and stated in her application ‘this year I am looking for greater exposure in the pubic arena to improve my people skills…’ She was mortified when her mother pointed out her error.

          2. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, I had to read it three times before I got it! But that is PROPERLY funny! You’ve made me laugh a lot recently why no humorous blog posts or stories??

          3. try my book…. tee heeeeeee. I do try and sprinkle some humour within a post or two even if there is serious subject matter but you are right, a lighter mood perhaps in one or two post Thank you for reminding me to change pace, de temps en temps

          4. Wait YOU have a book too? How did I miss that? Link me up then! Where is it Amazon? What’s it about?

            Haha wasn’t suggesting for a moment I didn’t like your posts! I just think you clearly have a flare for humour 🙂

          5. AHHH that’s so lovely well I shall read it anyway but definitely an incentive (don’t get me wrong it’s going to take a while to read tho, I seem to have an enormous pile at the minute)

          6. I have put it on my wish list on Amazon, so it will get read, I promise, the blurb sounds brilliant too, I think my wife might like it too actually, sounds like her kind of book 🙂
            will recommend it

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