Once again I’ve realized something I should add to one of my old posts. This time I’m adding to 102-01 Creating Characters.
For those want it, here is the new excerpt:
Four Basic Relationship Roles
Most characters fulfill one (or more) 4 basic role types:
Protagonists are the characters with goals. They are actively working to achieve something. Examples include Harry Potter & Dumbledore (Harry Potter), Keslier & Vin (Mistborn), etc.
Supporters are the characters who help protagonists. They want the protagonist to succeed, and they do what they can to make that happen. They are often friends, confidants, and/or mentors who have known the character for a long time.
Examples include Ron (Harry Potter) and Dockson (Mistborn).
Challengers are characters who confront the protagonist, who doubt them. A challenger may offer help, but they also don’t hesitate to criticize or even oppose the protagonist. Challengers are frequently friendly rivals or romantic interests, characters that push the protagonist to confront their shortcomings and/or grow beyond their limits.
Examples include Hermoine (Harry Potter) and Vin & Kelsier (Mistborn), who frequently criticize each other when others refrain.
Antagonists are characters who either have a goal that requires the protagonist to fail, or specifically want the protagonist to fail.
It’s also not uncommon for characters to have multiple roles. In the play Othello, Iago is both a supporting confidant for Othello, and his secret antagonist. Many adventure stories feature one-sided relationships, where the protagonist has romantic feelings for an antagonist. Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream used one sided romance to great effect.