I like to write mysteries because I like to read mystery stories. It all began with the Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene when I was a pre-teen in the 1950s. I have four published novels, poetry and short stories.
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Character Titles by Mary Deal
Although many people claim only five to seven main titles of distinctions for types of characters, you will hear characters referred to by many different terms. What follows a list of how all characters may be titled.
Protagonist – The main character of your story and can be either male or female. It can also be an animal or any person or entity around whom the story revolves. The protagonist must want something or have something to prove. The protagonist doesn’t always have to be liked.
Antagonist – The person that opposes what the Protagonist wishes to overcome. An antagonist need not be a person. It can be a stubborn obstacle or situation.
Secondary Character – Any character that has a fairly prominent place in the story but is not the protagonist or antagonist, yet stands out over all the rest.
Incidental Character – Those story people who remain in the background and only show up to round out a scene or offer a bit of story detail that others did not know. These characters are usually found by the protagonist along the way to overcoming the obstacle they wish to master.
Heroine – A female who brings about the story’s climax and denouement. Usually the female protagonist.
Hero – A male character who saves the day, also, usually the story’s protagonist.
Villain – Can be male or female. The term usually applies to a human being and is almost always the antagonist, though a few stories are written with the villain as the protagonist. The villain is usually always the one standing in the way of the protagonist achieving her or his goals.
Mentor – A character who could be behind the scenes but who guides or advises the protagonist or other important characters.
Foil – A character used to contrast another character to help establish personality.
Point of View (POV) Character – The character through whom the story is told. Applies to nearly all stories except those written from multiple points of view, as in Omniscient points of view.
Major Characters – All characters who are active throughout the story.
Minor Characters – Those in the background of the action, sometimes used as filler to round out the action.
Round Characters – Those whose personalities have been fully developed in the story, even though they may not be a prominent character. Many minor characters are rounded to give credence to what they do in the story, no matter how small their action.
Flat Characters – Those with little to no action in the story, have little to no personality development, and make few appearances. All stories have these people and the stories would not be the same without them.
Dynamic Characters – Usually those characters around whom the story evolves. Even though a character may make one appearance, or speak only one line of dialogue, it impacts the story in a way that the story would not be the same without their appearance.
Love Interest Character – Is usually someone in whom the protagonist is in love, but may apply to anyone in the story opposite any character, as long as the love interest portion impacts what the protagonist needs to accomplish.
For example, the protagonist may love a person who is already part of a couple with someone else. In the end, after trying to gain the love interest’s attention, once having solved the main problem needing to be accomplished, the protagonist realizes he or she is better off without that person in their lives. These characters’ lives can play out in any varied scenario of results.
Static Characters – People who never change throughout the story. Can be any character in the story. Their unchanging nature gives grounding to the main characters and adds greater depth to any character’s character arc. Can also refer to faces in the crowd.
Stock Characters – Story people used as fillers. They usually have no name and no real purpose in the story other than momentary, if that much, like walk0ons in a film. They pass in the background, enhance the background setting, but we never see them again.
All stories do not employ all of these people. However, as you create your plots, you will see the need to understand the characters you’re creating and their purposes.
Author, Painter, Photographer
Eric Hoffer Book Award Winner National Indie Excellence Book Awards Finalist (past)
Pushcart Prize Nominee Global eBook Awards Nominee
2014 National Indie Excellence Book Awards Finalist