Ever since Ferdy read a draft of my manuscript and said that my heroine was just like every Urban Fantasy character, I have been thinking about characters. I came across this and had to share.
Does the cast of characters in your novel or short story fall under some of these categories? Take care that your characters don’t fall into the cliché trap: If you find that they resemble one of the stereotypes below, reconsider your characterization or at least provide the dramatis persona with a distinguishing personality characteristic that’s a twist on the same old, same old.
1. Antihero: This character, a protagonist (typically seen in detective and adventure genres) whose personality flaws distinguish him or her from a standard hero, is inherently much more interesting than the upstanding counterpart. The key characteristic is usually misanthropy, but that’s not enough to round a character out. An antihero must have a solid foundation on which to stand.
2. Absent-minded professor: Perhaps Professor Fumblebuttons is just pretending to be a shock-haired scientist who can’t remember where he put his glasses (“Um, the glasses you’re wearing?”). What’s his motive for his deception?
3. Boy/girl next door: Is John or Mary really what he or she seems? What dark secret does that wholesome countenance conceal? This character easily pales in comparison with a complicated villain or sidekick, so make an extra effort to invest your protagonist with personality — or relegate the squeaky-clean persona to a secondary role.