Elements of Fiction-Characters

Throughout the next few months, I plan on doing Wiley Wednesdays that are focused on different elements of fiction. By doing this, I hope we can all learn a few things, and improve our writing (isn’t that the goal here?). Today I shall begin by talking about characters. I’ll be honest, you can have the most amazing plot in the world, but if I don’t connect with your characters, I won’t remember your story a month from now. We all want our characters to be remembered and loved, but to do that it takes time, patience and love. (Yes I said love, stop giggling and pay attention!)

Character – Any person or entity created in a fictional story.

There are many different ways and reasons to create a character. The protagonist is the main character that drives the action (Hello! That’s who the story is generally about), this is usually who we consider the good guy. You also need a character that opposes this person, like a villain. This is the antagonist, which in Greek literally means competitor, opponent or rival. Occasionally you’ll read a story from a different point of view and you’ll see the good guys as the antagonist.

So now you have two main characters to flesh out and create a story for. You’ll usually find you need others to help you along the way. This is where the supporting characters come from. They help move the plot along and can give clues and insight into your main characters.

Round and Flat characters

Your main characters are usually what would be called round characters. You’ve fleshed these characters out so well that they’re almost real. You know that they detest onions and have a secret passion for Belgium chocolate. They have good qualities and bad ones. They occasionally get caught up in their own internal conflicts and are just plain complex. Think Frodo Baggins or Sherlock Holmes.


There is another kind of character called a flat character. This is “the redneck” or “the con artist.” They have one or two traits and are pretty easy to figure out. You can usually sum them up in one sentence. “Gollum is driven to obsession by the One Ring he will forever try to recover.”


Dynamic and Static Characters

A dynamic character is one who undergoes a change. You see this alot in the coming of age stories. The protagonist starts out young and a bit naive, and by the end of the story they’ve had to grow up and they see life differently. The best example I can think of this is Harry Potter.


Static characters pretty much stay the same throughout the story. Their personalties are mainly unchanged and stable. Lots of main characters that are not the protagonist are static characters. Ysandre de la Courcel from Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Dart springs to mind when I think of a static character.

This wraps up today’s study on characters. I hope it may offer some insight and help with your characters a bit. Until next time my lovelies πŸ™‚


6 Replies to “Elements of Fiction-Characters”

  1. I figure that coming up with something to write can be hard enough on its on. I wanted a place to “simplify” the technical aspects of it! Thanks guys!

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