- Paperback: 227 pages
- Publisher: Central Avenue Press (Jun 15 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0971534489
- ISBN-13: 978-0971534483
- Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.2 x 1.4 cm
- Shipping Weight: 323 g
As a Canadian, any book I order from the United States is subject to high shipping costs and exchange rates. Consequently, when I finish the book, the number one question is always: am I satisfied?
I read Martha Engber's "Growing Great Characters From the Ground Up" in one day. By page 60, I had a pencil in my hand, a notebook on my lap, and knew without a doubt that I would come away a better writer for having read her book. Yes, I was satisfied! And I may never look at gardening the same way again.
Ms. Engber separates Growing Great Characters From the Ground up into three parts: Part One - The Groundwork, Part Two - The Right Seed, and Part Three - Growth, Cultivation, and Care. Part One has three chapters that explore what a character is, how to gather ideas, and how to narrow your selection. Part Two has two chapters that deal with planting the right seed and letting it sprout. Part Three has eight chapters that teach you freedom to grow, growing with your character, first impression, cultivating credibility, revealing your character, and lastly opening your character to critique. The book is complete with eleven exercises so that you, whatever your level, can capture the essence of what Ms Engbers teaches long before you begin the first draft of your fiction or non-fiction work.
Although she advocates completing her book before you ever write that first draft, do yourself a favour if you're a write-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-writer, don't pass this book up. No matter your experience, there is a lot to be learned by reading this book. And if you're an old-timer who needs some inspiration because you've been looking at a blank screen for too damn long, know this: Read Ms Engber's book, try a few exercises, if not all eleven, and when you're finished and have applied what you've learned, I promise "[your]readers will understand what makes your character unique."
Martha Engber's book, Growing Great Characters From the Ground Up is destined to become a must-have for any writer keen on improving his craft and writing great characters. I highly recommend it. Now I'm off to rename my character.