There are many types of characters in books, and authors can use them to create well-rounded casts. The fact that archetypes such as the Hero or Princess often appear multiple times throughout your story gives you structure while allowing for variation with each appearance, but here are 4 basic Archetypes every story needs
The Protagonist is central to your story. They drive the majority of the plot and provide an obvious manifestation of theme-based conflict in their internal journey as influenced by external events. The protagonist does not just react – they are active participants that take on different roles throughout various stages, sometimes even switching places with other characters or objects at certain points during reading. This gives them more depth than typical “good guy/bad girl” types we see often; you get insight into what makes this individual tick while also experiencing how it affects others around him/her.
The Antagonist is a character in his own right or maybe an antagonistic force (e.g., weather). He directly opposes your Protagonist, who shares important similarities with him to highlight and advance areas of growth for the protagonist when they are under pressure The person playing this role must-have skills that allow them t show differences between good & bad behaviors so it’s easier on audiences members during times when we want our characters pushed past their limits.
Also known as the Mentor (think of Obi-Wan), this archetypical figure is a teacher or helper. They serve many purposes in the story and can be seen to alternately support or oppose ideas depending on how one aligns themselves with its moral standard at different points during their journey. The guardian protects the protagonist throughout the story while also giving advice when needed most.
The Contagonist is a character that gets in the protagonist’s way, tries to lead him astray, and just causes tension. He’s different from an antagonist because he does not directly oppose your plot goal; rather it may be more indirect like trying his best (unwillingly) to hinder what you want for yourself or others.
What is a character? A person, or rather something that’s made up of words and scenes. But why do we care about these imaginary people in the first place?! It can be difficult to put into words yourself but luckily I’m here with 5 tips on how your Fictional Character could become more immersive for you!
Heros need Flaws
Think about giving your main characters flaws. Your characters may be the heroes of their story, but nobody is truly perfect. Adding a flaw or two will make them more believable and sympathetic – just like you want your readers to feel when they’re reading about what happens next (and probably why this happened).
When you create a character, it’s important that their past lives up to what they do in the present. Think about how every story has an origin and can be written as such–a beginning middle end with motivations behind each decision made along the way so we know why our main characters act like themselves now.
What’s the Motivation?
The best action is character-driven. You should try to base the plot of your story around the motivations and actions of characters, asking yourself “What is it that they trying to accomplish?” What do these people stand to lose or gain from this action/event? How might their goals change over time as well–throughout representing different challenges that arise along with new opportunities for growth along those paths.
Withhold information from your readers. When writing fiction, only give them what they need to know at the moment and anything else can wait until later on in a much more engaging way than just telling it all upfront! The supporting details—like backstory–should remain unseen; just like how most people don’t actually see an iceberg’s mass underwater because of its size.
The perfect character is one that you can’t help but love. To make your characters stand out from the crowd, try mixing in a few small details to give them an endearing quality or add some charm – this will create more memorable people! But don’t overdo it though; otherwise, they might come off as too unstable and unpredictable which would take away everything that makes them great characters for novels
Author, speaker, licensed counselor, and life coach, Tina has won over twenty-eight writing awards. She is passionate about guiding people across the threshold of healing to access life’s potential and has over twenty years of teaching experience. Two of her writing workshops are available through Serious Writer Academy. Tina is the publisher of Inkspirations Online, a writers’ devotional and mentors four chapters of Word Weavers International. Beautiful Warrior, her upcoming book on women’s esteem, is scheduled to release with New Hope Publishers in July of 2019. For the latest on Beautiful Warrior, or to connect with her as a speaker, coach, or manuscript therapist, visit tinayeager.com.
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Caleb: How has your experience in counseling helped you in character development?
Tina: Characters should be as realistic as possible, so they should be as human as possible. The more you know about the mindset of a real person, and how someone is constructed … it’s going to give your characters a more three-dimensional quality that captures the imagination and the heart of your reader, and immerses them in the story.
Caleb: What is the first step you take in getting to know your character?
Tina: I’m a daydreamer. I’m an organic writer. I like to just go with what appears in my mind as that character. You can use a tool like a personality test if you really want to go in to thinking about things like are they an extrovert or an introvert? Think about not just their personality but their backstory. How does that play into what’s going to happen with that character, and daydream that character into existence before you put them onto the page. That will keep you from info-dumping on the first page of your novel. You might want to flush all that out, but don’t do that for the reader, or the reader will be board. Know your character well enough to paint them, and then write them.
Caleb: How simple/complex should a character’s psychological struggle be?
Tina: I would err on the side on complex than on the side of too simple. Someone has to have enough layers of complexity in order to be realistic.
Caleb: What is the difference between an internal struggle and an external struggle?
Tina: An internal struggle is the character discovering who they really are, something that is an issue within them that is a conflict they’re trying to resolve. Whether that is a mental conflict, a conflict with their emotions or a conflict overcoming a wound, or a trauma, or a lie, or a fear in their past that was created. They are changing as the story goes along. The external conflicts are the forces that are coming against your hero from the outside, whether it’s a decision or a circumstance or an antagonist. That’s the external conflict.
Caleb: As complex as human motivations are, how do you choose which internal conflict drives the character through the story.
Tina: It depends on your story and it depends on your character. You shouldn’t just pick [an internal struggle] and say, “Oh here’s a popular, trendy thing!” You should pick something that is appropriate to the story and appropriate to you as a writer.
Caleb: How do you properly portray a character with a mental illness or trauma?
Tina: Please do your research if you are going to put a character into your story that has mental health issues, because you will have readers who experience those mental health issues and it will be insulting to them if you get it wrong. Please do your research, and please do not stereotype anyone with a mental illness. Make sure you’ve put enough depth into your character so they will be relatable, and realistic and that they have qualities that the reader admires.