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)
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.