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Tuesday, 2 October 2012

4 Character Types Every Story Must Have

I am having immense fun creating my characters for my third story, my first fiction book. And as I'm over half way into my second chapter outline I think I have most of my characters well established.

But last week I started thinking about the roles of these characters and I realised they must have an essential part to play in the story. It's no good for a writer to create characters just because they sound nice, bad characters need to exist too because they help drive the story forward. A writer needs to examine the layers of their characters to give them a full dimensional image.

So with this in mind I came up with four essential character roles.

  1. The protagonist. This is the most obvious one because it's the main character. In my book my protagonist is Caitlin O' Connor, a young woman whose life is turned upside down because she's suffered a brain trauma. I will create plenty of emotional conflict for poor Caitlin to go through as I want people who have suffered accidents themselves to be able to relate to her. In my book Caitlin realises although she had a pretty decent life before, it's not the life she wants now. But how does she go about changing it?
  2. The antagonist. I've decided my book will have two antagonists feature in it. Caitlin's husband will be one, and also Caitlin's sister who spends the majority of her time siding with her brother-in-law. The antagonist's role is to create as many problems as possible for the protagonist.
  3. The comedy character. To add a bit of light relief for when the story gets dark, I have created Paschal, the Pomeranian dog of Caitlin's sister. Pomeranians are real characters anyway so I thought who better to give this role to. Plus, I aim to appeal to dog lovers out there because I am one myself.
  4. The romantic. Although I am a bit of a cynic myself, I realise people would like to believe in a happy ever after. So I have created a character who is now perfectly suited to Caitlin, but not in an obvious way.
So, what about you? Do you have any more essential character roles up your sleeve?

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