Cover image for Dynamic characters : how to create personalities that keep readers captivated
Dynamic characters : how to create personalities that keep readers captivated
Kress, Nancy.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cincinnati, Ohio : Writer's Digest Books, [1998]

Physical Description:
264 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN3383.C4 K74 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



In this guide, Hugo and Nebula award-winning author nancy Kress explores the crucial relationship between characterization and plot, illustrating how writers can create vibrant, well-constructed characters.

Author Notes

Nancy Kress is an author who won Best Novella at the Nebula Awards 2014 for her title Yesterday's Kin.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Who Are These People, and Who Needs Them?p. 1
Part 1 Creating Strong and Believable Characters: The Externalsp. 7
Chapter 1 Beauty and/or the Beast: Choosing Descriptive Detailsp. 8
Chapter 2 What's in a Name? Using Monikers to Convey Characterp. 19
Chapter 3 Zip Code, Please: The Role of Setting in Creating Characterp. 24
Chapter 4 What Did You Say You Do? Using the World of Work to Enhance Characterizationp. 35
Chapter 5 Say What? Characterizing Through Dialoguep. 45
Chapter 6 The Artful Deception: Making Dialogue Read Naturally (Even Though It's Not Natural)p. 54
Chapter 7 When Less is More: Pruning Character Descriptors to a Manageable Numberp. 66
Chapter 8 Don't I Know You? Basing Characters on Real Peoplep. 74
Part 2 Creating Strong and Believable Characters: The Internalsp. 82
Chapter 9 She's Got an Attitude: Using Personal Thoughts to Characterizep. 83
Chapter 10 Lost in Thought: Making Clear What, When and How Your Character Is Thinkingp. 90
Chapter 11 The Pygmalion Trap: How to Not Let Your Assumptions Torpedo Characterizationp. 99
Chapter 12 Airy Dreams and Solid News: How to Use Dreams and Newscasts to Enhance Characterizationp. 107
Chapter 13 The Bad Guys: How to Make Your Villains As Readable As Your Heroesp. 122
Chapter 14 Do I Want to Know You? How to Create an Unsympathetic Protagonist Without Driving Your Readers Awayp. 132
Chapter 15 The Intelligence Dossier: A Wrap-Up System for Investigating Your Characterp. 139
Part 3 Character and Plotp. 157
Chapter 16 The Yellow Brick Road: How to Start Anywhere and Arrive at Plotp. 158
Chapter 17 Fight! Fight! Fight! When Conflict Leads to Violencep. 168
Chapter 18 Whose Story Is It, Anyway? How Point of View Begins With Character and Leads to Plotp. 175
Chapter 19 Also Featuring ... Secondary Characters and Plot Constructionp. 182
Chapter 20 The Characters, They Are A-Changing: How to Make Character Change a Strong Element of Plotp. 197
Chapter 21 Seeing Is Believing: A Concrete Example of How Character, Change and Plot Intertwinep. 205
Chapter 22 "... But It Really Happened!" Basing Plots on Real-Life Eventsp. 219
Chapter 23 Archetypal Attractions: Using Rich Old Plots in Rich New Waysp. 225
Chapter 24 I See a Pattern Emerging: The Connections Among Characters, Plot and Themep. 247
Chapter 25 The Characters and the Writerp. 254
Indexp. 263