Posts belonging to Category Character archetypes

Hey, Weren’t You Supposed To Be Sympathetic?

When I was talking last week about sympathetic antagonists, one of the disadvantages I listed was that it was easy to slip somewhere and end up with an antagonist that just doesn’t come across as sympathetic. Let’s face it, when it comes to antagonist sympathy, subjectivity is a more dangerous opponent than the protagonists. But [...]

The Hazards of Sympathetic Antagonists

I talked yesterday about all the cool features of sympathetic antagonists. It has to be admitted, though, that sympathetic antagonists come with their own set of inconveniences; you can’t have the good without the, well, bad. Mostly, these take the form of difficulties and complications for us; they may be cool dramatically, but they’re a [...]

The Joys of Sympathetic Antagonists

One of the character archetypes I find most interesting is the sympathetic antagonist—that living obstacle to the primary characters, whether villain, antihero, or just inconveniently motivated, who through her characterization elicits some level of sympathy from the audience. But what makes these sorts of characters so nifty, useful, and all in all effective for us?
Sympathetic [...]

Characters and Courtesy

Ursula Vernon noted in a recent post that we have too few polite heroes in today’s stories. The post was only partly about that, so she didn’t really go into detail on why; since I agree, I’m going to take a stab at what’s so great about polite heroes—or, for that matter, polite primary characters [...]

Showing Politically Skilled Characters

Let’s face it, intrigue is fun: it creates cerebral rather than physical conflicts, gives the audience a chance to match wits with the characters, and leads to some of the best sneaky maneuvering and one-liners a fictional setting can allow. Then it gets tangled up with politics, and things get really interesting; a politically skilled [...]

Creating Awesome Old Characters

Yesterday, I talked about awesome old characters, and why they work so well with their audiences. Today I’m going to look a little more closely about how we make the awesome oldie.
First off, remember confidence. The awesome old character has been around for a while; she knows what she can do, she knows how the [...]

Four Reasons Why We Love Awesome Old Characters

I’ve noticed that in a lot of works of fiction, I’ve found myself drawn to the characters at least a generation older than the protagonists who show themselves capable of wit, social maneuvering, and all sorts of overall awesomeness. Iroh from Avatar. Boneclaw Mother from Digger. Simon Illyan from the Vorkosigan series. Torogai from Seirei [...]

Rage Against the Everyman

You know those blank, everyman characters whose purpose appears to be primarily to serve as an audience surrogate but who always seem to end up as the designated hero despite having all the color of a wet noodle?
They never worked for me.
It’s partly that they’re so blank. They have all the textbook hero motivations: get [...]

Give Bureaucrats a Chance!

One of the things I found myself thinking, when writing about corruption among bureaucrats, is that in many stories and games bureaucrats, desk jockeys and others who live by papers and numbers get the short end of the stick.
We’ve all seen the types. You get the corrupt ones—oh, so many corrupt ones—who are behind everything [...]

On the Corruption of Fictional Bureaucrats

Corruption. It’s one of those dark things that we like to use to make antagonists out of characters who really don’t seem like the type to go into full-out villainy, pretty much as soon as we step into a setting that screams out “bureaucracy”. They’re evil HR managers, embezzling accountants, stock traders with inside information—they’re [...]