One more than on occasion, I’ve thought
about how fun it would be to play these games with characters from my
works-in-progress. Problem is—I stink when it comes to asking the
questions. I’m usually the lame friend in the group repeating an old
question or asking something too simple because I just can’t come up
with those good questions that will really get conversation (and
Luckily for me, Eric Maisel, Ph.D and
Ann Maisel have helped solve my dilemma—for fiction, anyway—with their
What Would Your Character Do:
Personality Quizzes for Analyzing Your Characters.
Now, I hear some of you regular readers
saying, "But you reviewed a character building book last month…." Yes,
that’s true. I really didn’t expect to review the same type of book in
subsequent reviews, but from the moment I picked this gem up off the
shelf I was hooked. I learned more about my heroine (and not just her
hair color, eye color and favorite food) from one of the thirty
exercises inside that I’d learned from all the character question lists
I’ve accumulated over the years.
The Maisel’s book begins with a short
introduction to the importance of knowing your characters from every
angle. Thoughtfully concise and interesting, the authors approach the
introduction by comparing the psychology of creating fictional
characters to the reality of human psychology and do an outstanding job
of reminding authors just how much fun the process of creating dynamic
characters can be.
From there, we move on to the meat of
the book: thirty real-life, character-driven scenarios to get you
thinking of how your character would react in the given situation and
what those glimpses can add to your story. Each scenario is followed by
six questions with multiple-choice answers, an accompanying description
of the psychology behind your character’s reaction and additional
situations to consider your character in as it relates to the scenario.
Additionally, each section includes further in-depth knowledge to add to
your files on future character behaviors based on specific situations.
For example, the "Elegant Party" scenario includes information on the
stages of alcoholism, "Diagnosed With An Illness" offers common
reactions to traumatic news and "Blowing the Whistle" delves into the
need to conform to societal rules and expectations.
Even if you think you’re read every
book on character you can stand to read, do yourself and your characters
a favor and pick up What Would Your Character Do? Personality Quizzes
for Analyzing Your Characters….because you can never know too much
about your characters before they come to life.
author: Beth Morrow
has more characters in her mind than she can ever write about and isn’t
afraid to admit it. When she isn’t discovering why her heroine has such
an aversion to her father, she can be found freelancing or teaching
English as a Second Language to middle school students. Visit her on the