5 Favourite Character Types

It’s undeniable that one of the greatest joys of reading is finding a friend in a character.  Personalities seem to transcend the page; paper and ink nearly becomes flesh and blood.

I find that many of my favourite characters tend to fall into certain ‘types’.

The Curmudgeon

There is something in the curmudgeonly character that I find oddly attractive.  It could be because birds of a feather flock together.  But it could also be because where the curmudgeon is, irony is not far behind—and I love irony.  When used for comedy, one knows the weather will be just fine if the curmudgeon predicts rain.  On the other hand, one knows there really is hope if the curmudgeon sees and holds to it.

Examples: Puddleglum from Narnia/ ‘Sunny Sam’ the Blacksmith from Farmer Giles of Ham/

Puddleglum2

The Comforter 

We all love the gruff old mentor sort of wise character… but I find I’m more drawn to the character of gentle wisdom.  Sometimes an elder, sometimes a peer, this character is a trustworthy source of comfort for the other characters.  They have a special intuition so that they not only listen, but actually understand, when a hurting character comes to them.  Even if they can’t solve the problem, they set that character off on the right course with reminders of truth.  The care they feel for others is genuine, and even if they’re aware of their significance, the Comforter character remains humble—what they do isn’t for glory, it’s just natural.

Examples: Amy and Wyatt from Space Boy  / Queen Sara Cobbler from The Wingfeather Saga

The Scholar/Scribe/Librarian

Like the inventor character, they are dedicated, clever, and creative.  But there’s something else, something comforting about the bookish character.  It’s interesting that this character often also shares the traits of the Curmudgeon or the Comforter character.  Whether an irritable scribe who would rather decipher and copy old record than socialize, or a passionate storyteller who through tales reminds the audience (both in and out of the book) of timeless truths, I feel a certain kinship with characters who appreciate the written word as I do.  They are literary shennachies.

Examples: The Chronicler and Dame Imraldera from Tales of Goldstone Wood / Oskar N. Reeteep from The Wingfeather Saga

The Reliable

This character will always have the protagonist’s back… and sometimes have the protagonist on his or her back, carrying them.  Sometimes they fulfill a similar role to the Comforter character, but the Reliable character is more of a man of action.  It’s almost as if there is nothing the Reliable won’t—or can’t—do to help the protagonist… and enliven to plot.  It’s fun to watch them pull of great feats of wit and loyalty.  But while they act like heroes, they are satisfied to remain as humble sidekicks.  I find that, while the protagonist is a great person to look up to, I’d rather be more like the Reliable.

Examples: Sam Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings / Agent Kensington from the Failstate Trilogy / Jeeves from the Jeeves and Wooster stories

The Inventor

Goggles, rolled up sleeves, and grease-stained gloves will catch my attention immediately.  Not only is this a cool look in and of itself (I have eccentric taste), it indicates something wonderful in the character’s nature.  I love the curiosity of the inventor and the way they cannot resist picking apart a pocket watch to see how it works; the dedication in which they try and try again to transfer their vision to reality; and the artistry with which they pull it all off.   Sadly, I don’t seem to come across the inventor as often as I’d like.

Examples: Solomon Volk from Nick Newton is Not a Genius / Luis and Breen from Mechanical Heart,

inventor faun 3 watermark
I was inspired to make my own Inventor… now he just needs a story

There are so many other character types I could mention, but I’ll stop here for now.  Some of these character types I’ve featured in my own stories, and others I haven’t featured yet, but plan to someday.

 

 

7 thoughts on “5 Favourite Character Types

  1. I love these character types, as well! I’ve got an inventor character in my next series, and he’s been really hard to write, but I think all the effort is going to be worth it!

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      1. Good memory! Yep, it’s Wynn. I had no idea he was going to be that type when I started writing, so I’ve got some serious editing to go back and do in book 1 (glad I haven’t published anything yet!) part of the difficulty with him is that he didn’t tell me anything about himself until I was in the middle of writing book 3, and then it was all huge, emotional WHOA character-development moments. Fun, but exasperating.

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  2. I just LOVE the curmudgeon types. Puddleglum is wonderful. ^_^ Another curmudgeony character I love is Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle. He’s the perfect mix of grumpy but secretly sweet. 😀

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  3. I love the idea of making a list of your favorite character archetypes! Hee, good old Puddleglum.

    And your inventor is dear. I want to read a story about him immediately, please.

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    1. The hard part was stopping at five. I’ll have to continue it later!
      Yes, what a wonderful wet-blanket

      Thank you, I’m glad you like him! I wish I could give you his story, but I’ll have to make one first.

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