The software walks you through creating a character's basic details (including flaw and primary story goal), physical description, personality (it uses the Enneagram to help you define each character's personality type), psychological disorder(s) (it has a long list of DSM--Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders--disorders), background, relationships, and personal dialogue style. At every step there are questions asked that guide you in creating unique and multi-dimensional characters.
In addition there is a section for general notes, and another for brainstorming story arc, beats, and scene ideas. It will even generate several of these categories for you (including name) and allow space for you to customize the generated elements.
There are options for whether the character is a primary, secondary, or minor character and the program makes suggestions regarding these. Your character development can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it.
The downloadable software works on the following platforms: Windows, Mac, and Linux.
If you get stuck creating unique characters to people your novels, or if you need a guide to help you create well rounded and believable characters, or if you just want to use this program as a teaching tool for learning (at least some of) the elements for creating believable characters then this software may be worth the price for you.
The site has a Learning Center page that offers short articles on the elements of character creation included in the software and on other aspects of character development.
Support is available via email through the site itself, in case you feel squeamish about purchasing download software at this price. The company offers a 60-day 100% money-back guarantee Return Policy if purchased through the company (but NOT through a reseller). How does one return a downloaded eCopy of software? Apparently, according to the site, you relinquish your right to upgrades and tell them you've destroyed your eCopy. (Am I too cynical? Do you also think lots of people might abuse this? But perhaps we writers tend to be an honorable lot--who else would want or need this kind of software?--I'd like to think we'd be honorable, anyway.)
Years ago, or so I was told, someone had invented a little gadget you could buy for not much money. It was a cardboard wheel "thingee" that one spun to generate certain elements of a mystery story: who dunnit, where, when, with what, etc. I was told this thingee was quite popular with mystery writers, especially prolific mystery writers.
One could snub one's nose at Character Writer, placing it in the same category as the mystery writing thingee, however, if said one wanted a kind of detailed checklist incorporated with a kind of writing program for ensuring characters were uniquely well rounded and multi-faceted and complemented each other, or better yet complicated each other...well, one could do worse.
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