Cast of Characters

When we sit down to enjoy a good book, there’s a number of reasons why we like or dislike the story. Sometimes we can easily identify the reason, but other times it’s a bit more elusive. One factor that does stand out to us though is the characters and how well they are developed.

In every novel, there’s a bunch of ‘people’ the author brings to life on the page and from your high school English class, you can probably name: Protagonist and Antagonist.

The Protagonist is your main character who either creates the action or is in the midst of the excitement and if the author’s done their job well, then the story wouldn’t happen without this vital person.

The Antagonist is the character who opposes the main character. This character can be an actual character or villain. There is always only one who stands in opposition to the Protagonist, but they can have ‘helpers’.

Now beyond this, can you name more characters? There are actually five other major players that surround the Protagonist, and depending on the length of the novel, they might overlap or play minor roles and appear only a few times in the course of the novel.

So here they are! Think of some of your favorite reads try to identify how the author created their cast of characters.

The Mentor: This could also be an impact character who helps the main character face their journey, understand the theme (the lesson the main character needs to learn), in order to have their ultimate showdown in the final battle with the antagonist.

Sidekick: This character is usually a friend to the main character is often known as the support character. Their job is to journey and face the challenges with the main character. They bring their opinions and ideas to the dialogue and may engage in some of the battles as well.

The Voice of Reason: This character is the logic in the journey. They can be seen as antagonizing the main character because they constantly disagree. Though they can be supportive of the main character as well. This is usually someone close enough to the main character that can speak directly to the character to influence the journey positively or negatively.

Emotional Character: Very often this character is a child or someone young in the story who balances out the logic. They bring the emotional dynamic to the story. A child or a ‘young-at-heart’ character who will react with tears or laughter or fear when needed.

Comic Relief: This character is a pretty static character and their primary purpose is to bring in a bit of humor. This type of personality makes us laugh and we usually expect the same kind of behavior from them. They make a somber moment light.

Of these five characters, they can overlap. For example, a character that is The Voice of Reason could also be The Mentor.

So think of some of your favorite reads and think about how the author has used these in their craft.

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