Assign a Role: Don’t Roll Over

What is your character’s role? Answering this question is key to creating a successful character. Is he the hero, and if so, what face does he wear: the Savior, the Dreamer, the Fool? And what of your villain:  Traitor, Renegade, Femme Fatale?

Understanding character roles is never limited to the protagonist and antagonist. A story needs supporting players as well: friends and rivals. There are symbolic characters, mythic character, fantasy characters, even nonhuman characters.

Sometimes a group of characters all share the same role, and characters often play more than one role at a time. Some are one-string characters, appearing in only a few scenes, and others are intricate to the sub-plot, having their own line of action connected to the main conflict. Character roles have infinite possibilities, and they can be defined in different ways, but when it comes to design, there is one absolute: every character has a role to play.