9 Types Of Characters In Fiction Writing

Rachel Poli
Nov 6, 2019 · 4 min read
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Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash

Did you know there are different types of characters in fiction writing? I mean, in addition to the typical “protagonist” and “antagonist.”

Take a look at the people around you. Consider your friends, family, co-workers, people you pass on the street and the grocery store. They’re all living individual lives with their own voice, attitude, and personality.

Fiction is not real, but you can do your best to make it as realistic as you can.

That’s why each and every character you create is important. It doesn’t matter if they’re the hero or villain, minor or secondary, sidekick or the hero’s mom. They all have a job to do and they need to do it well. There are a lot of types, but here are the 9 types of characters in fiction.

9 Types of Characters in Fiction Writing

1. Confidante Character

A confidante is someone or something the main character confides in. Readers can learn a lot about the main character’s personality and thoughts through this. The confidante can be another character or it can be the inside pages of the main character’s diary.

I personally find this particular character fun to write because I myself as a writer learns a lot about my own characters.

2. Dynamic or Developing Character

A dynamic character is someone who changes throughout the story. This may be a good change or a bad one, but their motivations, desires, or even their personality change due to something in the story. This is usually a permanent change and shows how the character has learned and developed over time in the story.

This is, of course, something that may happen naturally with your characters as the plot of your story moves forward. Plots are life-changing for your characters.

3. Flat or Static Character

A flat character is the opposite of a dynamic character. A flat character doesn’t change much (or at all) throughout the story. Their personality and/or background isn’t revealed well and we only know a handful of traits about them.

Normally you want to know all you can about a character. Depending on their role in the story, a flat character is sometimes needed or works well with the flow of the plot. A flat character can be someone minor who says something in passing that allows your protagonist to have an epiphany. Think about that person you run into in multiple aisles during one visit to the grocery store.

4. Foil Character

A foil character is someone who is the opposite of another character. They reflect the opposite traits, hence “foil.” Your main character can be sweet and caring and the foil character will bring out that side by being nasty. It contrasts two characters.

While showing various sides is a good thing, it will also allow you to learn more about your character as well. What would happen if your protagonist is too kind and their evil twin comes along?

5. Round Character

A round character is similar to a dynamic character. They change throughout the story gaining new traits, some traits opposite to who they used to be. A well-rounded character is great to have for someone who is in the spotlight throughout your story or is the heart of your story.

6. Stock Character

A stock character is just stock photos you can get off the internet. They are not a big deal to the story, they don’t change at all, they’re pretty much cliche characters such as the “dumb jock” or “popular cheerleader.”

While these particular characters seem like you shouldn’t add them because they’re cliche, you totally should. We all know a stock character or two in our lives. A fictional story should be no different.

7. Protagonist or Main Character

The main characters are the root of the story. They will develop over time and will ultimately be part of the driving force of the plot. This is the character your readers will care most about. Unless, of course, you intend for your protagonist to be unlikable. That would certainly be a fun twist.

8. Antagonist

An antagonist is the opposite of your protagonist. They will oppose your main character. They will, along with the main character, be the driving force behind the plot from an opposite perspective.

9. Villain

A villain is similar to the antagonist, but they are evil. Most people believe antagonists and villains are interchangeable. They are the “bad guy” of the story. However, they’re actually quite different. Villains have evil actions and motives that drive the plot.

In Conclusion

We’re all characters part of our own story. Fiction writing isn’t much different when it comes to throwing our characters into unique situations and seeing how much they will (or will not) change throughout. Of course, there are plenty of other types out there. For now, which of these nine types of characters do you typically write about?

This post has been updated and was originally published on RachelPoli.com.

I’m an indie author offering book marketing help and more services for writers at all stages during their creative journey. My goal is to make the process easy for you so you have the time to do what you do best: create.

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Rachel Poli

Written by

Author | Content Writer | Book Publicist | Podcaster | Creative Enthusiast | Runs on Coffee | RachelPoli.com/Book-Marketing-Help

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +773K people. Follow to join our community.

Rachel Poli

Written by

Author | Content Writer | Book Publicist | Podcaster | Creative Enthusiast | Runs on Coffee | RachelPoli.com/Book-Marketing-Help

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +773K people. Follow to join our community.

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