Thursday, May 23, 2013

Character Layers

Howdy, blogosphere! Hope you're all doing fabulous!

I just finished reading an eBook called The Mythic Guide to Characters by Antonio del Drago from Mythic Scribes and wanted to share some of the insight.


I found it to be a helpful in depth look at fleshing out characters. If you're in the initial character sketching phase, you may find this book especially beneficial. Even though my first draft is already done, I still found the techniques intriguing and useful for getting into my character's head even deeper.

Just to give you an idea, the author discusses the three layers to characters:

1. Character's unconscious mind
2. How character relates to the world
3.  Character's role in the story

Each layer is gone over in detail using the Enneagram and Bartle Types methods. Examples from popular modern day stories are also used to help clarify. I used these techniques on index cards for my main characters of Butterman Travel, Inc. and was able to dredge up some things I hadn't realized before, so that was cool!

By now I think most of us writers know that the secret to writing great fiction is in the characters. I understand this better each and every year I continue to pursue storytelling.

I particularly liked Mythic Guide's video game approach into types of characters, which delved into the way people play video games as insight into human nature. Very interesting stuff!

It also goes into the different relationships that shape who we are, and how these relationships can and should shape our characters.

There's a nice worksheet at the end that can be used for every story.

if you get a chance to check out The Mythic Guide to Characters, i think you'll also find it useful. I did find the voice a teensy bit dry, and I may argue some points in the dialog section for using fragments, but other than that, the general content is great stuff. And the eBook's only $4.99 on Amazon. (Links above)

Today is the official cover reveal for Catherine Stine's Ruby's Fire!


                                                   Artwork by Jay Montgomery. Isn't it great?

Ruby's Fire is book 2 in Catherine Stine's YA futuristic thriller series. You can find the full story synopsis on GoodReads, And find Catherine on her blog and website.

Congrats, Catherine!!

So I saw Star trek Into Darkness yesterday. If you haven't seen it and don't want any reviews tainting you, skip this paragraph. My honest thoughts were that the story was too predictable. Again they borrowed from Star Trek II Wrath of Khan for the plot, which I thought worked well on the first reboot, but this time ... well, it was entertaining, I'll give it that. I thoroughly enjoyed all the actors--they did a fab job once again. But I really hope the next film has a brand new story with new villains and new worlds, although the actor who played this new Khan was pretty darn good. (even tho I kept thinking of the first Khan...lol)

How about you? Seen Star Trek yet? Any thoughts? How about the character layers or Mythic Guide to Characters? Familiar with any of the techniques or the book? Have you read Fireseed One? Know Catherine Stine? She's great--pop over to her blog and say hello!

31 comments:

Barbara Watson said...

Sounds like a great book on character! The cover is delicious...it's nice to see an illustrated YA.

E.J. Wesley said...

That is a fantastic cover! Very 'video game chic' if I do say so myself. :)

I loved Star Trek, but can definitely see where you're coming from. There were no real 'holy crap, that just happened' moments from a plot standpoint.

While visually, on the other hand, about every 15 seconds there's one of those moments. LOL Overall, I'd give it a solid A-. The first got an A from me, so hopefully the third will be an A+. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Need to pick that one up! We can all use a little help to becoming better writers.
Congratulations to Catherine!

Tony Van Helsing said...

Is Antonio del Drago a real name?

Mark Means said...

The Mythic Guide book sounds like one I need to read...thanks for showcasing it.

Natalie Aguirre said...

The book on characters sounds like something I could use. Thanks for the recommendation. And love Catherine's cover.

Eliza Tilton said...

I saw Star Trek last night too. The story felt unfinished. Entertaining though.

Jess said...

Haven't seen Star Trek yet, but I hope to at some point. That book on characters sounds fantastic~ I'm with you~ more and more I'm realizing that great characters are the key to stories, moreso than plot. Love that cover :)

YVONNE LEWIS: said...

Sounds like a good book, and that cover is marvellous.

Yvonne.

Donna Hole said...

Thanks for sharing the writers book PK. Can never learn too much about writing.

Congrats to Catherine on an awesome cover.

.....dhole

Jeff Hargett said...

May have to check out that Mythic Guide to Characters book. I kinda felt the same way on the movie. I didn't have a problem with rehashing Khan, just the overly-heavy parallels at the end.

Angela Ackerman said...

I will have to check out this character book out!

Lexa Cain said...

What a wonderful reminder of the importance of characterization. It's perfect for me since I'm trying to get a handle on characters for my new WIP right now. I really have to get off my butt and start writing notes instead of just pondering things...
Congrats to Catherine!! :-)

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Congrats to Catherine!

I like to think I give my characters layers. Even if it's not in the story...I want to know there back story and their favorite color. Then they feel like real people in my head.

David List said...

The Mythic Guide to Characters was already on my goodreads "to read" list... Then you mentioned video games. I'm getting this today. I'm wrapping up the first draft of my novel now and I'm intimidated by the idea of starting the second draft, where I bring characters to life. This sounds like just the tool for me.

Johanna Garth said...

Love the idea of character layers because really, layered characters are the ones that stick with us the longest!

Lisa Gail Green said...

I'll have to check out that Guide to Characters book. And I did see Star Trek! I LOVED it, but probably because I'm still a sucker for Captain Kirk.

Dana said...

Thanks for the review! It sounds like an interesting and useful book.

Thanks, too, for dropping by my blog during the Blitz last Monday. You all made my day!

I hope you're having a great weekend. ☺

Mark Murata said...

I strongly recommend The Writer's Journey, by Vogler. The section on archetypes, such as Hero, Mentor, Shadow, etc. is highly illuminating.

SA Larsenッ said...

Thanks for sharing this ebook with us. Sounds interesting. My favorite part of writing is developing characters. I love experimenting with them.

Jay Noel said...

I've read something very similar on character layers, but my mind can't recall the title!

Steph Su said...

I think I should check out that book on character as well! Did you feel like there was a problem with the Carol Marcus character? Pre-release media had played her up as a potential love interest for Kirk, but all I got was that she had a pretty face and a rockin' body and she and Kirk gave ~*~significant looks~*~ to each other. Disappointed me, to say the least. I'd be curious to know what another person thinks about her appearance in the movie!

Emily R. King said...

Congrats to Catherine! I haven't seen Star Trek yet, but hope to.

Great info on the character layers. Very thought-provoking.

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Romance Book Haven said...

Sounds like a great book on character! The cover is great.

Congratulations to Catherine!

Nas

Leigh Covington said...

AWESOME! I think I'm going to put this on my amazon wishlist right now so I can get it with my next order! I love what you've shared. Sounds like it would be VERY helpful!

Kittie Howard said...

Thanks for the link, PK. It's amazing how real characters become!

Wow, what an awesome cover! Love the colors and how they interact.

Editors At Work said...

Congratulations to Catherine!

The book on characterisations sound something I could use. Thanks for posting about it!

Nas

Nancy LaRonda Johnson said...

That does sound like something to look into, if only to know how to keep your characters distinct and not forget who is who, who has what traits, etc. Thanks for sharing. Writer’s Mark

William Kendall said...

Congratulations, Catherine!

I haven't seen the movie as of yet, but I'm planning to...

Donna Yates said...

There's so many great ways to ensure good character development. I like the game playing one. I can see where that would help.