“The five main types of supporting characters–Villain, Love Interest, BFF, Mentor, and Fool. Keep in mind that not every story needs to include all of these archetypes. Sometimes you might omit several of these archetypes; other times you can have one character filling multiple archetypal roles.”–Gabriela Pereira
What’s Your Favorite Supporting Character Archetype, and Why?
Which archetypes resonate with you the most? Which ones do you sometimes overlook? Most importantly, how can you rethink these supporting characters to make your overall story more compelling?
With supporting characters, I love writing the villains and fools. I’m a horror and suspense author. Of course, I love writing bad guys haha. Psychology fascinates me. Why do people do the things they do? Exploring this concept, I love getting inside my villain’s head. I read somewhere that every villain is just a misunderstood protagonist. According to Gabriela, “the [f]ool’s purpose is to ‘tell it like it is,’ to set the protagonist straight and debunk any myths or misconceptions that the protagonist buys into.” Being an INTJ, I’m all about asking the question: why? The fool character allows me to keep asking questions, to get the other characters to think, to keep them on their toes. In the real world if I wasn’t the main character in my life, then I’d totally be the fool supporting character.
I often overlook the mentor. Sometimes the BFF is mentioned in passing but the friendship hardly shows on the pages. These characters bring peace to a story. I guess I enjoy writing conflict too much 🙂
I can definitely rethink how I use these supporting characters in my stories, so I can make my books more compelling. Instead of using each archetype and having too many characters, I can have one or two share these different traits. The fools have been my favorite characters to write. In One By One, Brady was my favorite. And, in Something’s Amiss, Bradley was my favorite. Some readers hated those guys. Maybe I can learn to write the fool in a more likable way. Just because they question the main character every step of the way doesn’t mean they have to be a pain in the ass to the readers.