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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Review: THE NEGATIVE TRAIT THESAURUS: A Writer's Guide to Character Flaws by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi

From AmazonCrafting likable, interesting characters is a balancing act, and finding that perfect mix of strengths and weaknesses can be difficult. Not only does a well-drawn protagonist need positive attributes to help him succeed, he must also have flaws that humanize him and give him something to overcome. The same is true of villains and the rest of the story’s supporting cast. So how can writers figure out which flaws best fit their characters? Which negative traits will create personality clashes and conflict while making success difficult? 


Nothing adds complexity like character flaws. Inside the Negative Trait Thesaurus you’ll find: 
*A vast collection of flaws to explore when building a character’s personality. 
*Each entry includes possible causes, attitudes, behaviors, thoughts, and related emotions 
*Real examples from literature, film, or television to show how each flaw can create life challenges and relational friction 
*Advice on building layered and memorable characters from the ground up 
*An in-depth look at backstory, emotional wounds, and how pain twists a character’s view of himself and his world, influencing behavior and decision making 
*A flaw-centric exploration of character arc, relationships, motivation, and basic needs 
*Tips on how to best show a character’s flaws to readers while avoiding common pitfalls 
*Downloadable tools to aid writers in character creation 

The Negative Trait Thesaurus sheds light on your character’s dark side. Written in list format and fully indexed, this brainstorming resource is perfect for creating deep, flawed characters readers will relate to.

Genre: Reference, Writer Help
Audience: Writers
Length: 206 pgs

Rating: ****

Review: This book, like The Emotion Thesaurus that I bought a while back from the same authors, is a great help. It has a wonderful introduction that goes into detail on character flaws, why characters need them, and how to craft them in your writing. It has a long list of flaws, and unlike The Emotion Thesaurus, it includes in index in the back that links the similar flaws. (I find myself using a regular thesaurus with The Emotion Thesaurus since it doesn't include this.) It also includes some great worksheets at the end to help plot out characters. This was perfect for me. It works best if used together with The Positive Trait Thesaurus, and personally, I would have gladly paid more to have both works included in one volume. (I bought each for $4.99.) If you need help delving in deeper with your characters and really making them shine, I would suggest both of these.

Try this. Like good writer reference books? Read DONE & DONE: The Power of Accountability Partnering for Reaching Your Goals by Annette Lyon and Luisa Perkins

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About Me!

I've been writing since I was old enough to grasp a crayon--my grandma even has an early copy of a "book" I made her. I have a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Wyoming and will (hopefully) soon be starting a graduate program in English. When I'm not breaking up impromptu UFC fights in the living room or losing miserably to my boys at Uno, I'm ... well, writing or editing, of course! I'm married to my best friend, and we have three rambunctious but simply amazing little boys.


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