Breathing Life Into Your Characters

How to give your characters emotional and psychological depth.
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Breathing Life Into Your Characters
How to Give Your Characters Emotional & Psychological Depth
by Rachel Ballon, Ph.D
Writers Digest Books, 2009
ISBN 978-1-58297-591-9
$14.99, paperback, 256 pages

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About the Book

Writers often ask themselves the following questions: What if my novel stops dead in its tracks because my characters seem stereotypical, unrealistic or mysterious? How can I create characters so real that readers believe in them? How can I make my story more credible and interesting?

Psychotherapist Dr. Rachel Ballon provides the answers! She teaches writers how to use the principles of psychology to understand their characters better than they ever thought possible. Through a mix of instruction, examples from film and fiction, and writing and visualization exercises, readers learn how to tap into their own stories and emotions to create realistic, complex characters.

Chapters focus on various aspects of characterization, such as:

  • creating back stories and case histories
  • exploring motivations-both the character's and the writer's
  • understanding what makes a character tick
  • creating villains by exploring one's "shadow self"
  • showing a character's emotional growth and transformation
  • and much more!

Employing these methods, readers will begin to create more interesting, unique and realistic characters-story people that make their fiction more credible and interesting.

About the Author

Rachel Ballon, Ph.D. is a liscensed psychotherapist and the founder and director of the Writer's Center in Los Angeles. She has reviewed hundreds of scripts for major Hollywood studios, and is the author of The Writer's Portable Therapist.

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