Four Primary Character Functions

By Tim Sanchez,2014-11-16 11:05
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Four Primary Character Functions

Four Primary Character Functions

    There are four primary character functions:


    The job of this character is to propel the story forward. This character’s desire to achieve the

    goal is a crucial aspect of the story. His decisions motivate his actions and explain why the

    pursuit of this goal is necessarygiven the character’s background, beliefs, desires, and commitments.


    The antagonist or nemesis is the character who most opposes the protagonist as the former attempts to pursue his goal. This character is a visible and persistent generator of conflict in

    the story. Without him it is difficult to muster enough energy to drive events forward.

Mirror Character

    A mirror character, also known as a reflection or support character is one who is most aligned

    with the protagonist. This character function supports the protagonist and adds color and

    resonance by helping to make her more credible through dialogue and action. Without this

    character as foil, it is difficult to create a protagonist who can examine herself without resorting

    to stilted monologues or static inwardly-reflective scenes.

Romance Character

    This character is the object of your protagonist’s romantic desiresthe reward delivered at the

    end of the journey. The romance character may also, however, support or bedevil the

    protagonist’s pursuit of the goalat least initially. This is because without conflict, the relationship degrades into stasis and boredom. Ultimately, however, the protagonist and his love interest end up together to live happily (or unhappily) ever after.

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