The plot, point of view, theme, and setting is of great importance in a novel. However, you can’t ignore the characters as they’re the novel’s driving force. They’re instrumental in creating and pushing the plot forward. It is through the characters that the readers experience the world that the author has created. This happens from the manner in which these characters interact with their environment.
This also happens from the manner in which these characters view their surroundings. The theme of the novel is illustrated and personified by its characters. While you must know the importance of characters in a novel, you must also know who they are. Here are some of the main characters that you would find in most of the novels:
1. The protagonist
The main character of the novel, the protagonist is often referred to as the ‘hero’ or the ‘heroine’. However, the character is not necessarily bad or good. If you’re writing a novel, you’ll mostly use the point of view of the protagonist in the story. The novel, in fact, is the story of the protagonist.
While writing the story, you must make sure that this character relates to the reader. Even his or her bad choices must make sense to the audience. The portrayal must be such that the reader understands and roots for him or her. You might have more than one protagonist depending on the story’s genre.
2. The antagonist
The antagonist may either be an individual or a group of individuals. The role that he or she plays in the life of the protagonist is what defines him or her. An antagonist is not necessarily evil. If the character is in some way against the protagonist, he or she is the antagonist.
It’s important that the protagonist faces obstacles in the way of accomplishing something in the story. An antagonist is the one who either creates these obstacles or is the obstacle. The presence of an antagonist is what prolongs the story and makes it interesting.
3. The mentor
When the protagonist sets off on his or her journey, a guide is always needed. The mentor plays the role of a guide to keep him or her on the right path. A mentor, therefore, is an individual who guides the protagonist wisely throughout the story. The mentor is someone with a lot of experience and is helpful.
A mentor is mostly needed because a protagonist is not always perfect and all-knowing. When the protagonist falters in his or her path, the mentor reminds him or her of the moral codes. So, the statement won’t be an exaggeration that every protagonist needs a mentor.
4. The skeptic
The role of a skeptic is to add some dimension to the novel’s story. He or she may also be the friend of the protagonist, but not necessarily a sidekick. A skeptic won’t provide an unwavering support to the protagonist’s journey. This is because the skeptic believes that the protagonist can’t reach his or her goal.
In a way, skeptics embody the readers’ doubts with regards to the goal of the protagonist. The skeptic is often a voice of reason and this conflicts with the emotion that a protagonist has.