Characteristics For Characters

Humble. Kind. Trustworthy. Caring.

These are all characteristics, or traits. Characteristics distinguish us, and book characters, by giving them unique qualities and attributes. Characteristics are the things that make us who we are, whether we be loving or modest, it’s a characteristic. And when it comes to creating a book, movie, or play character, characteristics are an important part of doing so.

When we create a book character, or rather read about a book character, we want them to have this uniqueness to them, something that makes them different from the others. Each character should be different. Otherwise, if they were all the same, it would just come out as boring and. . . dull, as simply put. There is nothing better than having a character that is special in their own way, something that we can distinguish from the rest of the characters. We want our characters to be honest, and/or caring, and many other things.

We want our characters to be one of a kind.

If every book, movie, and/or play had the exact same character, wouldn’t it get tiring? Wouldn’t you be bored? Wouldn’t you eventually lose interest? That is exactly why we need characteristics for our characters. And trust me when I say, there are plenty of characteristics to make an array of different characters.

Smart. Courageous. Brave. Determined. The list goes on and on and on. There is no possible way for me to list every single characteristic, but I have listed a few of them in this post already. There’s a possibility that we can never run out of characteristics to make our characters.

We all want to open up a book to the first page, and know that the story will be different. Different plot, different characters, different genres. We do not want every book to have a character that is kind, caring, and intelligent. Why not have a distinct variety of characters? Unless the book’s sole purpose is to have each and every character be completely the same, then we need to have the unique individuals.

There is no reason not to.

I mean, depending on the book, the character might need to be brave, or clever, or both. The character might need to charming, but clumsy, and the villain might need to arrogant and caustic. The girl might need to be compassionate, and decisive, because, let’s face it, a lot of people do not like indecisive characters.

Books might need elegant queens, idealistic villains, and humble servants. Each character needs characteristics to make them them. We need good characteristics for heroes and the good ones, and bad, or misunderstood, characteristics for villains. It depends on the book you read or write, or the movie you watch.

And this is not just in book or movie characters. We have characteristics too. These are what make us unique. Maybe I got you thinking about your own characteristics, your own traits. Or maybe you’re thinking about a book you might be writing or reading, and you are thinking about the characters.

Whatever it be, they should be unique.

Characteristics

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The Many Different Characters of Fiction

Without characters, we wouldn’t have books, movies, or plays. But in this case, we’re talking about book characters. 

Let’s face it, characters are great. Most of them, anyway. Characters are the people we follow through the pages of a book, the people we journey with through thick and thin. We know everything they know, sometimes even more. And we always cry when a sad part comes up, or laugh when there’s an especially funny moment during the chapter. I mean, what could we do without characters? 

Books wouldn’t even exist. Except for maybe school books and encyclopedias and dictionaries. But we wouldn’t have those amazing books where we hide from our troubles and enter a totally different world, one where anything can happen. Characters are one of the most important things in fiction and non-fiction. In fact, they are a necessity when it comes to writing a novel. 

Characters are wonderful, and we can do anything we want with them. When writing a book, we can make the character unique and different in their own way. We can make them perfect or flawed, prissy or tomboyish. We can even make them intelligent and perceptive, or a complete bonehead at that. Characters can be anything we want them to be. As long as we have imagination and creativity to guide us along the way. 

They are made when an author dreams up an individual, and adds a personality, appearance, and a story to go along with it. I think an important part of having a character is that sooner or later they should experience a physical, mental, or emotional change. It’s called development, and each and every character of fiction or non-fiction deserves to experience just that. Development. 

Yet, there isn’t just a hero and a villain. There’s so much more than that. I am pretty sure that everyone has read at least one book that has more than just the hero and villain. There’s a lot more to it, and that’s exactly what I want to talk about in today’s post. 

First off, we have the protagonist. The hero/heroine, the main character. The protagonist is the person we follow from the beginning to the end. They are the one that the story revolves around, and they are important to the story. We can’t have a story without them. 

The protagonist can be the one that saves the day, whether it be visible or hidden from the beginning. They’re the ones that usually fight and win and prosper after defeating the evil side. We might know that they’re going to be the hero, sometimes it’s a little more shadowed from the reader’s eyes. Without the protagonist, there would be no story. 

Then we have the antagonist, the evil one, the villain. The very bane to the existence of the protagonist. They destroy, demolish, obliterate, and ruin everything. At least until the hero arrives and saves the day (which may or may not happen.) But either way, the antagonist is just another way of saying wickedly evil. 

Usually, the antagonist will do something, destroy something, or perhaps do something very, very bad. They are necessary to the story, usually. It just depends on the story. Anyway, without the antagonist, we don’t have a good story. There (usually) absolutely has to be something to motivate the antagonist. The Hades to our Hercules. 

But I am just going to go ahead and say it. It’s sometimes hard to hate the antagonist. I mean, come on, who can hate Heath Ledger as the Joker? (Rest In Peace, Heath Ledger) 

Joker

There’s a lot more characters in books. Maybe more than one protagonist, or more than one antagonist. We have a range of characters that doesn’t limit us to just two characters, a hero and a villain. In books, we also have minor characters. They are not the main character, they are not the villain. They are simply on the sidelines, but they are there for a reason. 

In dramas, we have the deuteragonist, the second most important characters. I am not very experienced in the drama department, so I cannot write about something I don’t know much about. We also have the tritagonist, which translates as the third most important characters. Pretty interesting, huh?

I love minor characters though, and I am sure that a lot of people will agree with me on this one. Batman is the protagonist, but we still love Robin (he might not be a minor character, but the story doesn’t revolve around him.) Robin’s pretty great. There’s not many sidekicks that get their own comic series. 

I can go on and on and on all day about the many different characters of fiction and non-fiction, never stopping until I name each and every one of them. But this post has got to end sooner or later. But hopefully I got you thinking about how important characters are. There isn’t just the major characters that the story revolves around. There are the minor characters, quietly waiting in the shadows until they can have a little spotlight moment. 

Characters are great, and we cannot help but love most of them. 

“Then” and “Than”

Then and than. Homonyms. 

Two totally different meanings, but they sound almost exactly alike. The words then and than are very similar in spelling and sound. There’s only one letter off that doesn’t make them the same. They’re not the same, different from each other. Still, why do some people mix up the two words? I browse the internet a lot for a lot of different things, and sometimes I happen to come upon the mixed of words of then and than. I do not have a huge fit, even though I’m a Grammar Nazi –

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– it just bothers me that the word isn’t correct. It is a possibility that the person wasn’t paying attention, or maybe he/she just typed in the wrong letter when they were writing really fast. Or maybe they just don’t know the difference. I think, though, that once you figure out the different meanings and can easily tell the difference.

“Then” refers to a time when something takes, or has taken, place. “Then she met him,” “Then it all changed,” “Then we had pizza”. Once you pick up on it, it’s easy to remember. It just sort of prints into your brain, and then voila, you know “then”. And now I feel like I’m giving a Language Arts lesson in a classroom. . . I don’t think that’s supposed to happen.

“Than” compares to something. “She was braver than the other contestant,” and “the teacher was smarter than the younger kids”, and so on. 

See? Totally different, yet so similar. It’s easy to confuse the words, especially when you are writing in a rush, than then you don’t really catch that mix-up. There are a few times that I have written something, looked back, and saw that I messed up then with than, or the other way around. It’s not always something you think about, it could just be a mistake. Perhaps next time you write something (blog post, facebook status, novel, etc.), you won’t have to wonder if you mixed up those words. It’s easy to remember once you understand the difference. 

Who knew that two words could be so alike, yet so different. Kind of like identical twins. They look the same, but they have different personalities, tastes in fashion, wants and needs. The list goes on and on. Identical twins are actually a great example of then and than. 

There are many other words that sound the same but have different meanings. There’s their, they’re, and there, here and hear, write and right. I could go on and on all day of the different words sounding alike. There are probably hundreds of thousands of those darn homonyms, and I’ll never be able to count them all. But hey, at least I got then and than out of the way! 

Simple as that. 

then