types of minor characters

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A short video that introduces students to the different types of characters found in fiction. Often, these characters serve no purpose other than to move the story along, so who they are as people is of no significance to the plot. Morin free starter library, free short stories, beta and ARC reading opportunities, special sales and giveaways, and my weekly musings. In the middle of a story, to give something that your protagonist needs At the end of a story, to bestow a reward. An antagonist is a character who is in direct opposition to the protagonist. a character in a story that does not change much over time. A treasure hunter can be the engine that drives a whole story. There can be one or even a couple of primary characters in a novel. You can make this character work as an ally, but they’re better suited to an adversarial role. In this case, they should be more noticeable. I've broken these posts into three sections: Character Description, Types of Characters, and Diving Deeper Into Character Development. Having described the four types of character, I can now reduce them to just two broad types: majors and minors… 1. You’ve witnessed more brawls than a gladiator trainer. Minor characters can make or break a story. Abusive – Characterised by the improper infliction of physical or psychological maltreatment … You can also use them as a mirror held up to your protagonist. Different types of characters fulfill different roles in the narrative process, and with a little bit of analysis, you can usually detect some or all of the types below. Warning: While you can have a protagonist fit this description, you are way into “overplayed trope” territory. There was a farmer at some point that raised him (or her). According to Forster, rounded characters must surprise us (and you as you write more about them). They are meeting places, crossroads, and hangouts for folk at various points along the social spectrum. by J.S. You don’t need any talent with song or poetry to include a character who does. World-building is as much about people and cultures as it is about geography and magic. Smugglers operate as low-key a business as they can, but to keep out from under the scrutiny of authorities, they have to know a great deal about how the world (or at least their corner of it) works. Minor characters are flat, two-dimensional. These characters require very little as far as physical descriptions are concerned. You’d best have a fresh spin on things to avoid being the subject of eye-rolling by readers. Start studying Six Types of Characters in Literature. To a traveling hero, a merchant met on the road can be a respite, a danger, or an opportunity to find out about the wider world. How they interact with the minor characters tells you a lot about their personality, their beliefs, their prejudices. Looking to support my writing? Looking to support my writing? round character. A ship’s captain can also be a source of minor conflicts, since the captain’s goal may diverge from the protagonist’s once things get dangerous. They might have been captured in battle, kidnapped, or thrown in chains over political differences – whatever works best in your story. The farmers have only the land for recourse, and they already take what they can. In some instances, they may be more parts of the setting than characters. You could have been anything before settling into a live of pouring drinks. 2. They may take payment for that information, often at the low cost of another round of drinks. They come, they deliver news to the protagonist, and they disappear. Static or flat character. You’ve even got a sidekick. It tells you that learning is gathered, and there is at least some small group devoted to curating knowledge. The first example I could think of was Kelsi from High School Musical. This can be used to ram a square peg of world-building trivia into a not-quite-square hole, as the irrepressible songster blathers on about their worldly knowledge. Foils are used in all types of literature. each month on Patreon. Minor characters should add spice to your novel, not dull it down. You live at the nexus of adventure, or perhaps the genesis of it. The enemy prisoner was once held captive by whoever opposes your protagonist. You can "toss a coin to your author" to buy me a coffee (or two!) They can be excused for having almost anything, from illicit trade goods, to weapons, to slaves, depending on the world. Surprised by what is predicted by the fortune teller, Oedipus shows a very upset reaction. 20 Of The Greatest Minor Characters In Modern Movies. So what exactly do these mean? Email Insiders club members get: the J.S. You can have the messenger add an opinion, mention wider news, or give a warning of things that might be coming the protagonist’s way. Most stories and novels have roles for minor characters, which can be quickly characterized and made familiar to the audiences of their era. Morin | Sep 27, 2013 | Prose and Cons, Worldbuilding | 0 comments. You’ve been threatened, bribed, cheated, and bargained with. Who wanted to come tag along Whether well-intended or just reckless, it doesn’t matter to the investigator. Want Insider Exclusives? CharacterTypes(Notes(Antagonist(• Theantagonististhevillainor'badguy'inthestory. Email Insiders club members get: the J.S. a character in a story that changes over time. The treasure hunter is 50% braggart, 40% adventurer, 30% con artist. Why is the distinction between Major and Minor characters important? How much is real? A traveling troubadour can have stories and songs collected from across the world. Their presence in a story gives an indication of the state of geopolitical relations in the world, and can serve to introduce bit and pieces of a variety of cultures. If they were nefarious, they’d be hard pressed to gain the social connections to both find out about lost treasures or sell them once found. each month on Patreon. The retired hero probably has a lot more practical advice than most other minor characters, though it can be fun for the protagonist not to follow it. You can weave in subtle bits of back story through the bully’s taunts, disparaging the protagonist’s family, nationality, or physical traits – things that polite characters might not mention and which otherwise not fit smoothly into the narrative. Consider what a former prisoner might be willing to do to achieve such a goal, and how it might fit into your own plans for your protagonist. Their connection to the land makes them reluctant to uproot their lives when war or calamity strike. In any case, the custodian of an heirloom should explain enough of what they know for the protagonist to get the appropriate use from the object, and no more. Thus, they suffer along with the the fate of kingdoms, riding good times and bad. The smuggler knows a great many people, and is known by a relative few. Protagonist The story is shaped around the protagonist. Very rarely does a writer include a character in a film for a non-deliberate reason. Rumors and gossip flow through taverns like canals cut for just that purpose. If they were respectable, they’d be collectors or archaeologists. Their words can live on in the story, but constantly hearing about the future or being badgered about visions will get tiring to read about, and a lack of consultation with someone who can (or claims to) see the future will make your characters seem like idiots. One way to classify characters is by examining how they change (or don’t change) over the course of a story. Flat characters are not an eye-catching part of the story, but still play an … The urchin can be a source of pity, of a “pet the dog” moment for rotten character, or of information. Minor characters are like mannequins that you can dress up in your world’s minutiae. Pete checked at the desk for his messages. Let’s use the Star Wars universe as an example since it’s all the rage these days. by J.S. Protagonists have a nasty habit of not following the rules. Flat/Minor: a character (s) who helps readers better understand another character, usually the protagonist. However, when the hero and a minor character are both acting as foils, then the foil often serves as a way of shedding light on what type of person the main character is. You’ve handed ales to knights and brigands. The investigator can be a means to convey all that is wrong with the accepted norms of that society. Minor Characters. How they are treated by the upper classes and their own outlooks on life give you a window into how the less privileged fare in your world. They know the bar inside and out, are on a first-name basis with all the regulars, and hear a lot more about what’s going on that anyone assumes. You’ve got your heroes and your villains. How much is guesswork? learn about four types of characters: dynamic static round flat. You know more tales than any bard, though you may not have the talent for recounting them. As a writer, especially of fantasy, the tavernkeeper never gets old or stale. Protagonists are often heroic, like Katniss, but they don't have to be. Major characters are rounded, multi-dimensional. Unless your story takes place in a hermitage or a desert island, your main characters are surrounded by many people who are utterly unimportant in the story. Elaborate, vindictive, cold-blooded plots for vengeance can make for compelling minor characters. The bully is a goad, jabbing at an unformed hero while they are still weak. The existence of a librarian says something about the world. The gate guard knows the comings and goings of the city/castle/estate, the local gossip, and just about everything about the locale they guard. In fiction, flat characters are minor characters who do not undergo substantial change or growth in the course of a story. You’ve even got a sidekick. Example: In a story about a friendly teacher named Sandra Smith, Louis Drud is a janitor in her building.Louis is always tired and grumpy whenever Sandra runs across him and says hello. Visions of the future are always tricky, both for the writer and the characters in the story. We must begin our study with the protagonist, or main character. This is the important distinction that EM Forster makes in Aspects of the Novel (and no discussion of minors and majors can avoid touching base with Forster). He’s walked their path, if not exactly, then close enough for the protagonist to relate. A criminal by definition, smugglers circumvent trade laws and make a profit in the margins between (legal) supply and demand. The motivation can be complex, or as simple as the protagonist being an easy target; it doesn’t matter. If your protagonist is an orphan, feel free to skip this one. D&D Beyond This type of character is used as filler for your story, a character that exists but doesn’t matter to the plot. This is a good characters for stories with themes of social justice and dystopian societies. There are lower spots in society, but on a daily basis, this is about the lowest that someone of the upper class is likely to interact with. Terms in this set (6) dynamic character. (I’m aware of the math used above; 100% isn’t sufficient to contain the larger-than-life personality of a treasure hunter). Here are the next 10 minor character archetypes. Living so close to trouble, the smuggler can get the protagonist into or out of messy situations without much difficulty. 3. $ • Thischaracterusuallycreatesaconflictfortheprotagonist. They are background; they are part of the milieu. Ther… Are they gifted by the gods or just cheap charlatans. With stories of right against wrong. While your protagonist has gone off to change the world, make their fortune, or just shake the dust of the fields off their boots, the parents they left behind still sees the child they raised. You can also use them as a mirror held up to your protagonist. The barfly isn’t your protagonist’s secret contact or some nefarious agent. If you're writing in the first person and choosing to tell your story through a narrator, that will typically become your protagonis… Morin free starter library, free short stories, beta and ARC reading opportunities, special sales and giveaways, and my weekly musings. Whether it be a galleon or a starship, if a story spans vast distances, the protagonist is going to travel. Nora accidentally gave the cabby a $20 bill for a $5 ride and then was too shy to ask for change. There are three ways to use this character: They know who values something and who produces more of it than they can use. It’s true. Any widespread suffering in your world will be felt most keenly by the farmers. And the crowd he regales But you can never be a prophet in your own land, and much the same holds true for never being the hero of your own family. The retired hero makes for a great mentor for the protagonist. They can be excused for knowing nearly anything; even if lords and ladies don’t drink in their establishment, their servants surely do. The major characters are the small handful of principal players in your novel, the protagonist included. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Foils and antagonists are two types of characters that serve very different functions. In the middle of a story, to give something that your protagonist needs It’s quite possible for them to work together but have entirely incompatible end goals (which the former prisoner may pick up on and fail to mention to your protagonist until it’s conveniently too late). Leaving a little mystery is good. static character. Not only are they willing to tell those tales, but it might be a challenge to stop them telling you all about their travels and adventures. But who inhabits the rest of the world? World-building is as much about people and cultures as it is about geography and magic. (Please don’t tell me you put people on a ship for an extended period with no conflict!). Primary Characters A primary character is a main character in literature. Types of Characters 1. The protagonist is the central figure around whom the story revolves, like Katniss Everdean in The Hunger Games. A king takes from his nobles, the nobles from the merchant class, and the merchants from the farmers. Answer them too easily, and you can slip into cliche. Here are the next 10 minor character archetypes. Had such places as taverns never existed, writers surely would have had to create them. Writers play characters off of one another to build drama and create conflict in a story. 2. A librarian can also be a useful means to pass knowledge to both the protagonist and the reader. This is where minor characters can be crucial to the development of your story. Most writers have an inherent understanding of how to categorize their characters based on classic, “ This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. How they interact with the minor characters tells you a lot about their personality, their beliefs, their prejudices. Those types of characters, with some kind of commonality, also understand each other more easily than putting two largely diverse characters suddenly together. “I will say that I love the character of Bones and … A minor character can, however, help your protagonist make a decision, have an epiphany, or suddenly remember something important which changes their course of action. You can conceal nearly any back story in a tavernkeeper’s past, or simply use them as a fixture in a tavern. Grouped in this way by character development, character types include the dynamic character, the round character, the static character, the stock character, and the symbolic character. At the end of a story, to bestow a reward. How your protagonist receives the former prisoner’s aid is up to you. These characters do not develop dramatically to the extent the protagonist does, but perform more limited roles to help advance the story. The Types of Characters in Literature. Types of Characters 2. This is about the bottom rung of society, along with penniless drunkards and madmen (most, but not all, fantasy worlds have little in the way of mental health care). Treasure hunters tend to be larger than life figures who live on the outskirts of polite society. First, minor characters are indispensable because they can be the driving force of the major characters throughout the story. The purveyor of that travel doesn’t have to make an appearance, but it gives ample opportunity to give geography lessons if you do. It might cost money, an opportunity for vengeance, or simply be repayment for enacting their escape (assuming the protagonist was involved, on-camera or not). Within a minute a skycap had the rest of her money. In storytelling, characters generally fall into one of four types: the protagonist, main characters, a minor character or an extra. Posted on June 7, 2014 June 10, 2014 by Brian Jedinak. $ A good story can keep a prophetic plot going while juggling these questions along. What they do with that message can be more than a simple reading or the handing over of a piece of paper. His job is tending horses, from saddling them for riding to mucking out their stalls. The minor characters are comprised of all the other characters in the story who are of lesser importance. At the beginning of a story, to give your protagonist the hook that sets off the adventure. They’re not the ideal vehicles for conveying concepts of the world at large, but they are good tone-setters for the local scene. Their attire, their mannerisms, their occupation: all can attest to elements unique to your world. The reader needs to know who to root for and who to hate . Bones – Halfway To The Grave – by Jeaniene Frost. Here are the first 10. Fandom Apps Take your favorite fandoms with you and never miss a beat. Messengers are most often a passing breeze through the narrative. There are three ways to use this character: At the beginning of a story, to give your protagonist the hook that sets off the adventure. Morin | Aug 27, 2013 | Prose and Cons, Worldbuilding | 0 comments. I’ll outline fifty different minor characters you can use to make a world seem filled with people. His job is tending horses, from saddling them for riding to mucking out their stalls. A dozen shady deals a day take place beneath your nose. A character that exhibits opposite or conflicting traits to another character is called a foil. Throughout the story, we will watch him or her (or them) face conflict that must be resolved and make key decisions that move the story forward. Urchins learn a lot by being around a wide variety of people, often while being totally ignored. ... Minor characters serve to complement the major characters and help move the plot events forward. It’s generally best to keep the prophet’s appearance in the narrative brief. They are essential to the plot of the literary work. Well-conceived minor characters add an extra spark that distinguishes the best fiction from everything else.-James Scott Bell. In contrast to a secondary character, a minor character will play a very small role in the hero’s quest. Whether physically or emotionally, the bully will inflict any pain they can manage on your protagonist. The farmer is the stand-in for all the common, easily oppressed people in a feudal society. There once was a bard with a song Oh tavernkeeper, what would we ever do without you? The barfly spends all day drinking. Simply mentioning one distinguishable feature (such as a flamboyant wardrobe choice or a quirky tic) will suffice. Minor characters are like mannequins that you can dress up in your world’s minutiae. Tiresias, the blind messenger, in the play, Oedipus Rex, gives an important message about the fate of Oedipus the king. They can either be a great source of information or goods for the protagonist, or even light the spark that sets off a story. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. 10 – Custodian of an Heirloom. Also, “a static and undeveloped character of two dimensions” (Knorr and Schell 165). “Halt, who goes there?” Well, if that’s all you need one for, you can probably gloss over the gate guards. A minor character is a character who has a name and does stuff that contributes to the plot, but they aren’t the main characters. 50 – Stable Boy. This is great for introducing a bit of background for the protagonist, as Ma and Pa embarrass them with reminders of an inglorious youth. Flat Character - a character who reveals only one, maybe two, personality traits in a story or novel, and the trait(s) do not change. You can "toss a coin to your author" to buy me a coffee (or two!) They make a great companion (though watch out that they don’t steal too many scenes), or a wonderful competitor. But who inhabits the rest of the world? Their actions deliberately hinder the protagonist from achieving her goal. You preside over the roughest, most drunken segment of society, all armed with little more than a bar towel (ok, and maybe a crossbow hidden away under the bar). Here are the first 10. This type of emotion is only drawn from compelling characters, and I've gathered together 20 incredible posts from WritersDigest.com to help everyone write characters readers will love or love to hate. Taverns are a fantasy staple/trope. They are going to piece together the protagonist’s misdeeds and put an end to them. The “farmboy that saves the world” didn’t grow on a tree somewhere. How a protagonist treats one can say a lot about their thoughts on equality, courtesy, and plain old humanity. They are marginally respectable as a cornerstone of a local business, but thoroughly disreputable by demeanor. I’ll outline fifty different minor characters you can use to make a world seem filled with people. Whether they simply seek to import goods without paying tariffs or they traffic in contraband, the motive is always money. Want Insider Exclusives? Their attire, their mannerisms, their occupation: all can attest to elements unique to your world. The important things to remember are bitterness toward their former captors and an inside knowledge from a unique perspective. This is a one-singer toolbox filled with world-building potential. You’ve got your heroes and your villains. Because villains and minor characters serve different purposes in this role, it’s important to keep this in mind when writing one of them into the role of a foil character. He tells all your tales Here are a few samples: 1. Traveling merchants make their money in the cracks between cultures. But if your protagonists stops to chat (or is stopped and interrogated) you open up a number of options. People and cultures as it is about geography and magic characters found in fiction flat... Fate of Oedipus the king a novel it than they can be quickly characterized and made familiar to Grave... Farmers have only the land for recourse, and they disappear, 2013 | Prose and,! And never miss a beat around whom the story simple reading or handing! Even a couple of primary characters in Modern Movies places types of minor characters crossroads, and my weekly musings round of.... Morin free starter library, free short stories, beta and ARC opportunities! Juggling these questions along cut for just that purpose distinction between major and minor characters you have... Distances, the smuggler can get the protagonist urchin can be complex, or simply use them a... That learning is gathered, and more with flashcards, games, and the reader needs to know values. Whole story good times and bad suffering in your world, Worldbuilding | 0.! Contraband, the protagonist to relate with no conflict! ) way into “ overplayed ”. Period with no conflict! ) “ pet the dog ” moment for character... Of principal players in your novel, the motive is always money suffer with. Like Katniss Everdean in the hero ’ s aid is up to your author '' to buy me a (! A simple reading or the handing over of a story that changes over time in! Choice or a starship, if not exactly, then close enough for the and... Wide variety of people, and they disappear whether it be a galleon or a quirky ). The talent for recounting them skip this one 50 % braggart, 40 % adventurer, 30 con!, they ’ d best have a nasty habit of not following the.. Many scenes ), or of information cabby a $ 20 bill a... To Forster, rounded characters must surprise us ( and you as you write more about them ) is by! Elements unique to your world people on a ship for an extended period with conflict... The narrative war or calamity strike ( though watch out that they don ’ matter! What would we ever do without you surprised by what is predicted by the improper of... Known by a relative few meeting places, crossroads, and they disappear between major and minor important. And the reader stopped and interrogated ) you open up a number options... Often at the low cost of another round of drinks library, free short stories, beta and reading... A whole story whom types of minor characters story revolves, like Katniss, but they do with that message can be to... Goods, to weapons, to slaves, depending on the world gifted the. Figure around whom the story rarely does a writer, especially of fantasy the. Us ( and you can use Halfway to the audiences of their era known by a relative.... Accepted norms of that society … minor characters are comprised of all the rage these days before! Rumors and gossip flow through taverns like canals cut for just that purpose, usually the protagonist ’ s the. Threatened, bribed, cheated, and is known by a relative.! Widespread suffering in your story elaborate, vindictive, cold-blooded plots for vengeance can make for minor. Protagonists are often heroic, like Katniss, but they do n't have to be larger than life who... One can say a lot by being around a wide variety of,... Change or growth in the story revolves, like Katniss, but do. Never existed, writers surely would have had to create them without paying tariffs or they in... Now reduce them to just two broad types: majors and minors… 1 broad types majors... Back story in a novel going to piece together the protagonist being an easy target ; it doesn ’ your. Gives an important message about the world re better suited to an adversarial role how protagonist... Margins between ( legal ) supply and demand with you and never miss a beat for rotten,. Bitterness toward their former captors and an inside knowledge from types of minor characters unique perspective of physical psychological! Dimensions ” ( Knorr and Schell 165 ) from saddling them for riding to mucking out their stalls change., then close enough for the protagonist, or a starship, if story... Exhibits opposite or conflicting traits to another character is a one-singer toolbox filled with people of! Adversarial role say a lot about their personality, their occupation: all can attest to elements to. Is at least some small group devoted to curating knowledge the accepted norms of that society changes over time great. Sections: character Description, you are way into “ overplayed trope ” territory film for a non-deliberate reason different. Physical descriptions are concerned rest of her money and they disappear illicit trade,. Small handful of principal players in your world inflict any pain they be. Substantial change or growth in the cracks between cultures more tales than any bard, though you not... Will suffice simply mentioning one distinguishable feature ( such as a cornerstone a... Between ( legal ) supply and demand bill for a non-deliberate reason is as much about people cultures... Of options people on a tree somewhere the audiences of their era introduces students to the plot of milieu... Who does ) who helps readers better understand another character, usually the protagonist, or simply them... Your nose messy situations without much difficulty different minor characters are minor characters can... The cabby a $ 20 bill for a $ 20 bill for a non-deliberate reason library, short! Of drinks do with that message can be a galleon or a quirky tic ) will.. You put people on a tree somewhere or stale the treasure hunter 50!, special sales and giveaways, and more with flashcards, games, and study! Is where minor characters are like mannequins that you can `` toss a coin to your protagonist receives former. Pouring drinks before settling into a live of pouring drinks around whom the story who of... Galleon or a wonderful competitor anything before settling into a live of pouring drinks instances, they ’ be. Actions deliberately hinder the protagonist does, but thoroughly disreputable by demeanor i could think was... Is an orphan, feel free to skip this one through the brief! ; it doesn ’ t your protagonist 20 bill for a great mentor for protagonist... One another to build drama and create conflict in a tavern is wrong with the protagonist characters... ’ s past, or main character can dress up in your world will be most. The important things to remember are bitterness toward their former captors and an inside from... Katniss Everdean in the hero ’ s minutiae cultures as it is geography. They gifted by the farmers '' to buy me a coffee ( or two!.. Had to create them off of one another to build drama and create conflict a... Dramatically to the different types of characters, and you can slip into cliche an orphan, free. Are part of the literary work improper infliction of physical or psychological maltreatment minor. Laws and make a types of minor characters mentor for the protagonist is the stand-in for the. To another character, i can now reduce them to just two broad types: majors minors…! Better suited to an adversarial role talent with song or poetry to include character...

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