6 Characters You Can Use in Every Story

6 Characters You Can Use in Every Story
January 17, 2017 6 Comments Writing Advice J.K. Allen

Characters people our story worlds and are an integral part of our writing. They bring the plot to life and through characterization, we explore themes and personal growth. And we use several different types of characters to populate our stories. So which characters are crucial to our stories? Which will be in every story we write? And do we have to use every archetype? Let’s look at the six characters you can use in every story.

  1. cherylholt / Pixabay

    The Protagonist. The main actor in your story, this is the character whose actions drive the plot forward. This is also the person most directly in opposition to the antagonist. And the character who most greatly expresses the theme as his inner journey is shaped by external events. This is who the story is about, the character whose journey your readers will follow and relate to. Examples include Harry Potter and Katniss Evergreen.

  2. The Antagonist. This is the character (or force) who is most directly in opposition to the protagonist. His actions will affect the protagonist and keep them from achieving their story goal. He is directly opposed to the protagonist, rather than by accident or chance. Examples include Lord Voldemort and President Snow (and the Capital).
  3. The Sidekick. This character is the best friend or accomplice who is loyal to the protagonist and helps them achieve their goals. They usually serve as a foil or mirror character to the protagonist to highlight different aspects of the protagonist’s personality and character growth. They are on the same side as the protagonist through thick and thin, even willing to sacrifice themselves for the protagonist. Examples include Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, and Peeta Mellark.
  4. The Mentor. This is a classic, archetypal character who teaches the protagonist and guides him along his path. He provides the moral compass that the protagonist follows. He is often portrayed as a wise old man, but can come in any form to avoid clichés. Examples include Albus Dumbledore and Haymitch Abernathy.
  5. The Love Interest. Another archetypal character that can be combined with other character roles, such as the Sidekick, the Love Interest is the character your protagonist falls for. They usually reciprocate these feelings, even if the protagonist doesn’t realize this. They often serve as a catalyst for the protagonist’s actions and inner character arc. They often push him forward and force him to grow. Examples include Ginny Weasley, Peeta Mellark, and Gale Hawthorne.
  6. The Rival. This character acts as a mini-antagonist for the protagonist. They are on the same “side”, but oppose the protagonist in actions and words. They are not necessarily bad, though they may do bad things, they are just aligned against the protagonist for personal reasons. This character is the opposite of the sidekick. Examples include Draco Malfoy and Cato.

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These six characters will help to build your story world and provide interesting relationships between your characters. What is your favorite character to write? Share below and happy writing.

Julia

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J.K. Allen Julia Allen received her BA in Creative Writing and English from Michigan State University. She did her senior thesis in poetry under the tutelage of Diane Wakoski, but has been focused primarily on fiction as of late. Common writing themes that can be found in her work address identity and the type of strength that can be found in ordinary people. Julia is currently working on a Young Adult fantasy novel and can be found at local cafes in her hometown when writing, and painting, drawing, or reading when not.
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  1. 6 Comments

    Beth

    My favorite character to write is the antagonist. I find them challenging, so it’s extra rewarding when I get them just right.

    Reply
    1. 6 Comments

      Julia

      I agree. They can be tricky, so getting them just right feels great. Thanks for reading

      Reply
  2. 6 Comments

    Stephanie Ayers

    I can’t say I honestly have a favorite to write. I have favorite characters from my stories that are more memorable than others, but I couldn’t peg them to one of these. Some of mine actually cross 1 or 2 of these. Example, in my fantasy, my main character is also a mentor.

    Reply
    1. 6 Comments

      Julia

      I don’t know that I have a favorite role but I do end up loving my protagonistsissy and they’re love interests in almost all my stories the most. Don’t know what that says about me haha.

      Reply
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