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Main types of characters in stories and how to bring them to life

There are many varieties of different characters to use in a story. I mainly focus on 3 or 4 different common types.

This keeps my stories simple and easier for the reader to become engulfed fully with each character.

The characters I find are most necessary for a story to develop well are the protagonist, antagonist and narrator.

Let’s take a closer look at these primary characters.

Protagonist – The Main character in which the story is about

The person who the story is about, the main character, this person is given life from the author; the whole story should revolve around the protagonist normally the hero/ heroine that wins in the end.

As the author it is our job to paint a clear mental visualization of each character by giving them flaws, traits and personality. Give the reader a taste of their past, touch on future and goals. “Show not tell” about their behaviors, style, and body language. Show the reader why you chose this person to be the main character.

Antagonist The person who actively opposes someone or something

This character should be just as equally interesting and detailed as the protagonist. This is the time to make your character as memorable as possible. Antagonists are often referred to as the villain or villainess, in some stories antagonist can have a change of heart and there could be more than one.

“Show not tell” why the antagonist is doing what they are doing, give them strong distinctive features add power within their personality. Give them purpose with shown emotions, make their flaws standout by persuading your readers to still fall in love with them.

Narrator- The storyteller

In fiction the author created the characters to tell the story, who is speaking, the one that sets the tone and the voice of each scene and provides the reader with a point of view.

Be very mindful of this one, while writing. In most cases the narrator doesn’t change but in fiction in many cases it can change but the reader should never question who’s talking/ speaking within your story.

Forms of narrator:

First person-The character openly telling story

Second person- The point where the author speaks directly to the reader.

Third person- Anyone within the story besides the first two.

For the most part in my novels those are the 3 I remain loyal to but there are more such as:

The love interest, foil characters are placed in a story to address someone’s flaws, a stock characters helps move the story along, then you have your secondary characters; they think the story is about them. Confidant characters are the best friend, sidekicks, you have your flat characters that has traits and flaws that don’t change. You may want to add a few tertiary characters that take up space in the storyline but are considered minor characters.

Each character should have a personality style or type, reliable, most fun, the crazy one, most independent, the liar, the nice one or the high strung one.

Remember allowing your characters to speak; don’t tell the reader what they said. Let your character build a relationship with the reader by using description to set the tone of the scene.

People fall in love with great characters. Use this information to clearly create characters for your stories and bring them to life for your readers.

Theresa Elizabeth is a self-published author of 3 novels. She loves to bring characters to life in her urban, street-smart books. Each story is set in the present times and tackles current social ideals and movements. You can read more tips, excerpts from her stories and more on her blog at

Check out her books by following the link and read her popular stories.

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