Antagonist: The antagonist (also called the villain) stands in the way of the protagonist from achieving his/her overall goal. A villain can also be an inanimate object that is possessed, a political faction, a terrorizing animal, or anything else non-human. There can be multiple types of antagonists, but usually one will stick out most.
Protagonist: the main character. Even if your story is told from multiple POV, there will be one main character that stands out above the rest. It’s the character that your story opens with in Chapter One and ends with in your last chapter.
Manuscript: a story that hasn’t been published yet.
What is a major character?
This type of character includes your protagonist, antagonist, and supporting characters (other important characters that matter to the plot).
What is a minor character?
This type of character is used as filler for your story, a character that exists but doesn’t matter to the plot.
Why is the distinction between Major and Minor characters important?
The reader needs to know who to root for and who to hate. As a writer, if you give as much detail about a minor character as you do a major character, you risk the reader becoming confused.
I’ve read a few manuscripts that left me baffled by the end of chapter one. Why? The author offered too many names and details of everyone at the beginning of the story, I wasn’t sure who the supporting characters were. I knew who the protagonist was, but the rest of the cast was a jumbling mess. And if I don’t know who to focus on, then it’s hard to connect with the story.
When you’re writing draft one, it’s okay to give as much detail as you want. But when you re-read draft one with fresh eyes, make sure you distinguish your major characters from you minor ones. The more detail you give about a character, the more important they should be.
To learn more about major and minor characters, purchase A Wordy Woman's Guide for Writing a Book on Amazon. In my book, I dig deeper into the details of character, and I also give specific examples from popular stories.
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