Part two of an ongoing series. Read part one here!
Last time I wrote about character archetypes, I looked at specific archetypes pertaining to heroes and villains– the most common characters in fiction. This week we’ll be stepping away from that a bit, though still talking about major and plot-important characters. Because as important as your main protagonistic force and your main antagonistic force are, it’s often necessary to populate the story around those two forces. More often than not, however, these characters often come off as more functional characters than fully rounded characters.
There will be times when you have to have a functional character. Sometimes you need someone to give out exposition or technobabble and there’s not enough time to give them a personality. However, the closer the character is to your protagonist, the more rounded the character should be. Horatio has motivations and fully realized relationships, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, not so much. At least, until they do. A comic relief character can work very well, but if they’re the best friend of the main character and show up in several scenes, they’re going to seem rather one note.
These character archetypes can often come off as one note, as it is either particularly easy to write them as a purely functional character, or it is particularly difficult to properly write them. As you’re thinking about these archetypes, think about how they relate to your protagonist and antagonist, and what might make their relationships to the other characters more complex and realistic.