Writing Concepts

This article was originally published in The Writer’s Everything, Issue #010.

The Purpose Of Writing Concepts

Every week, published in my writing magazine, The Writer’s Everything, Writing Concepts will discuss a major piece of knowledge that authors would do well to be aware of.

This week, the topic of Writing Concepts is “Primary Characters.”

Primary Characters

Primary characters are characters who have major roles in the story. Primary characters are not just limited to the point-of-view (POV) characters, the main character, and the hero. Primary characters can include any protagonists, antagonists, or other characters that have a major effect on the plot of the story.

For example, in The Lord of the Rings, Frodo is the hero. Samwise and Gandalf are support characters who help him on his journey. And Saruman is the antagonist. All four of these individuals, however, are primary characters. Frodo is a major POV character. Samwise has a constant presence in the story, supporting Frodo and helping him to make good decisions. Gandalf has major effect on the plot of the story throughout the trilogy, starting Frodo off on his journey. And Saruman is the primary antagonist for the first two books, as well as an occasional POV character in the film adaptations.

Ensemble stories will have a large number of primary characters, while other stories may have relatively few. You can usually plan on having at least three, the main character, the side-kick, and the antagonist. For example, in Nightcrawler, Louis Bloom is the main character, Rick is the side-kick, and Nina is the antagonist. In Z For Zachariah, Loomis is the main character, Ann Burden is the side-kick, and Caleb is the antagonist. On the other hand, in Adrift, there are only two primary characters. Tami Oldham is the protagonist and Richard Sharp is the side-kick, and the inclement weather takes on the role of antagonist in the story.

The Writer’s Everything

This article, as well as many others, have been featured in previous issues of my writing journal, The Writer’s Everything, in which I, along with occasional guest contributors, provide essays, guides, encouragement, motivation, writing prompts, character bio development kits, and anything else that can help you turn your dream of becoming a writer into a reality.

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