Character creation is one of the fundamentals to any story writing. Without a main character there is no plot. There are many types of characters but the two biggies are the Protagonist and Antagonist. Many believe these characters to be a simple matter of 'good guy vs. bad guy', however this is not always the case.
Your protagonist is your main character/s. You follow this character through the story. There are a number of points to consider when creating a protagonist:
I'm sure you could come up with further character aspects. The above listed points can also be considered in the case of your antagonist and other major characters.
One of the main things to consider when building your protagonist is whether they are relatable. Your main character is going to require flaws; they can't be too perfect. Make sure that they have room to grow and change (which should happen throughout your story).
Consider the 'good guy vs. bad guy' statement from the opening paragraph. Did you assume that your protagonist is required to be a 'good guy'? It is true that in most novels the protagonist is seen as a good guy but when you consider the different aspects of that character you may realize they actually are not as virtuous as you thought. The character may believe that what they are doing is warranted but go about it in the wrong way. The other option is that despite your character thinking they are in the right, from another's point of view they are the bad guy. Confused yet? Let's consider the antagonist.
Antagonist Your antagonist is the 'bad guy' of your story (or are they?). The antagonist is created to oppose your protagonist, creating a force for your main character to battle against. When creating your antagonist you should consider the same points as listed above for the protagonist. Remember that even though the antagonist is believed to be doing 'bad' things, hindering your protagonist, they must have a reason for doing so. Likely, they believe that they are in the right; an antagonist should not be summed up as merely 'evil' in a nutshell with no real motive. Imagine what it would be like to write a story from the point of view of your antagonist (ie. Your antagonist becomes your protagonist). Interesting right? You should come up with a background story for your antagonist; why do they believe what they do? How have they come to oppose your protagonist?
This is a very brief post about character creation but hopefully it has been helpful to some of you fellow writers out there. If you have questions or have anything to add about character creation that you consider important please leave a comment below.
Scarlett Van Dijk
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If you wan't to know more about writing good antagonists or villains listen to First In Fiction's podcast on Villains
A Writer's Tale
Scarlett Van Dijk
Writer of young adult, fantasy series, the Sky Stone series, poetry and short stories.
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