I guess I would divide my world of characters into five:
My protagonist is usually smart, or smarter than the surrounding characters in some ways. At the same time s/he is far from perfect and is struggling with internal problems. Can be tormented, but doesn't have to be. Strong and weak.
Perhaps it's because I'm mostly into science-fiction and literary fiction that I tend not to have antagonists per se. My conflict rises from within usually or from problems with the science. Sometimes I have an antagonist (usually smart) who is more of a troubled character - not all bad, but certainly not good either, especially their actions.
The good - I almost always have a conscience character. Don't know why, but my protagonist needs a compass. Why can't s/he figure things out on their own? I'm not sure. Maybe because that's life? Maybe because when we're so involved in things we can't see them clearly from the inside? These support characters are usually the tormented or sad ones.
The ordinary - Very problematic these ordinary characters are. I work hard not to make them too boring, but they're just fillers. Necessary with small parts. Or are they necessary?
Finally - the funny ones. Everybody (fictional and real) likes these characters, and for me it's the light, funny characters everybody likes that I can't write worth a damn.
I don't know how to do comedy and despite having sense of humour (I think/hope/believe I do anyways), I can't write it.
I remember how my writing group used to ask me if I had written one thing or another just to be funny, and I would redden and nod. They would then mumble something along the lines that it's okay then, but that I should otherwise delete it.
I just can't be funny or have comic relief characters. And I really wish I did because they really are so lovable and add another dimension to fictional works.
Categories: writing, characters, process