Great Characters Every Book Should Have

By on July 24, 2016
Great Characters Every Book Should Have - Writer's Life.org

Every book needs to have a great protagonist. That goes without saying. But what about all the other characters in your book? Often we focus so hard on making sure that our hero or heroine is incredible, unique, engaging, and flawed that we spend far less time on the other characters in our stories.

However, all characters should be well thought out, relevant to the plot and complement or contrast with your protagonist in an interesting way. You protagonist is your star, but they are going to need a little help to get them where they need to be. So, with that in mind, here are some of the best kinds of characters to make up the cast that will help them on their journey.

The sidekick

The best friend, the brother or sister, the pet that can talk. All protagonists need a sidekick. The sidekick is someone with whom they share their secrets, hopes, dreams and fears. One who comes along with them on their journey. The sidekick helps them, rescues them, and gets them into sticky situations too!

The mentor

The mentor is someone, usually older and wiser than your protagonist that they go to for help and advice. It could be a parent, an older sibling, a teacher or simply someone they have met along their journey. Think Yoda from Star Wars or Mr Miyagi from the Karate Kid!

The enemy

Most books have a ‘bad’ character. One who puts the protagonist down, who litters his path with obstacles, who fights him or, in the most extreme cases, tries to kill him. The enemy can be anything from your typical school bully to a superhero soul-eating zombie. The enemy character doesn’t necessarily have to be evil though; they are simply someone that your protagonist locks heads with and has to overcome.

The lover

Now, we know that not all stories have to have a love story in them, however, many do. Your protagonist needs to have a character that they care about more than all the others. Someone that they want to fight for that motivates them to overcome whatever obstacles are thrown their way. Love and romance usually appear in some form or another in stories, and it makes for an interesting subplot to have this kind of relationship developing between two characters alongside the main story.

The comedian

However dark or twisted your tale may be, having some comic relief is always welcome. Creating a comic character who provides this is a great way of creating contrast and building layers of tension in your story. Plus, if you can get your readers to laugh, you are onto a winner!

Of course, while these characters are useful to have in your story, there are many different types of other characters your protagonist could choose to have around too, and there are many variations of the above who may play a large or small part in your novel. Whoever you choose to have in your novel, the most important thing is to try and get creative with your characters, spend time developing them, give them purpose, and make them count!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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