978-0-89879-901-9 / 9780898799019

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About the book:

Stereotypes exist for a reason. Usually, because there's an element of truth to them. With The Writer's Guide to Character Traits, psychologist and professor Linda Edelstein has created a basic guide for Writers. Her goal? "To create a friendly reference" for writers who want "to create believable characters and need accurate information about personality and behaviour." Sure, disparage it if you like. But wouldn't you like to know which of your protagonist's offspring is most predisposed to warming up to their new stepfather? What kind of criminal is likely to have a religious mother? The traits of people who commit suicide? Edelstein has included over 400 lists: of traits associated with child development, psychological disorders, criminal styles, sexual styles, love and marriage, life-changing events, physical problems, career, and the like. "Even when a writer's imagination soars to places more fascinating than reality," says Edelstein, "characters must possess an internal cohesiveness: they must make sense." And let's face it: "People," she adds, "are more consistent than not." (The book includes real-life character anecdotes from Edelstein's own work and a huge character-trait cross-referencing index at the end.) --Jane Steinberg

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