All the Types: Stories & Supporting Characters #DIYMFA

Happy nearly-June! 😨

How did we get here– why isn’t time pausing?? My watch flat-lined two weeks ago, but the calendar’s still going! (Rude.)

Fell off the wagon as usual… My work contract ended a couple of weeks ago, and I just came back from a 10 day trip celebrating that accomplishment. Ok no, it was more a “let’s see Australia while I can” trip with the bonus of friends. And so! I’ll be moving in less than a month. Again. 🤪 Considering that a holiday, too. Ideally– a writing retreat! Let me just– (inflates all the hope).

Anyhow, I’m jumping back on the wagon after a fascinating talk with my Airbnb host.  Dedication > motivation.

Holt
Thank you Captain! (Source)

Combining two prompts into one this week, because holy moly there’s still 6 left! (Okay maybe 7.) Slow and steady is the way to go, said the turtle. 🐢

First up, let’s talk supporting characters!

Prompt-7

I have to choose!? Deer oh dear… 🦌

Gabriela talks about five essential supporting characters types:

  • the Villain
  • the BFF/Sidekick
  • the Love Interest
  • the Mentor
  • the Fool

I probably would pick Villain as my (first) favorite, because the opposition of the two forces/values/ideas drives the overall story. Think Harry Potter and Voldemort. Now subtract the villain. Not much of an epic showdown, eh? ⚡💔😭⛅

Opposing values? Why certainly. As J.K. Rowling mentions via the Mentor (Dumbledore), Tom Riddle and Harry have very similar backgrounds and ancestry (ish, that really is another topic for another blog), yet the values they espouse are contrary to one another.

Now of course, without the other supporting characters the rest of the story would be much too bland. Harry without Hermione and Ron (BFFs)? Hah! Good luck kid, enjoy magic (and certain death). 👻 Harry without Cho/Ginny (Love Interests)? Debatable, but they do help his character development, as do Neville and Luna (Fools).

But what about Draco!? Ahh, yes. Well, I’d still categorize him as a Villain, but a minor, day-to-day irritation. He’s irking, and maybe threatening, but not really when compared to big Voldy-death over there. I won’t even touch Snape, because I’m getting off topic enough as it is, and I didn’t meant for this to be a Harry Potter analysis (which other people do a lot better).

Recapitulating, perhaps the Villain is the second half of the main course (steaks vs fries? A delectable combo!), but the other supporting characters are all the spices and sauces making the dish come alive (picky eaters not considered for this particular analogy). Maybe I shouldn’t compare characters to food though, because we all can’t smell them through the pages, and we’re quite unlikely to eat them! Except on cake… Let there be cake! 🍰

Ahem. A quick side note, if you’re crafting or developing your villain, why not have a laugh while doing so! If you haven’t, and even if you have, feast your eyes on the Evil Overlord List. I’d forgotten how hilarious it was!

Moving on! 🏃‍♀️

Coming in a close second, let’s talk story type.

Prompt-8

I’m a sucker for underdog stories and epic save the world stories! Avengers? Black Panther? Wonder Woman? Batman? X-men? Daredevil? Superman? (Etc, etc, too many to list!) Yeah. I’m there for that, 100%.

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So much love. Too many feelings! (Source)

Truth be told, I don’t think I ever stopped to consider why I react so strongly to those stories (there are tears, trust me). Because they do what I can’t, for starters. They have strong moral integrity, even if they struggle with defining “what’s right” half the time (can’t blame them, the world ain’t black and white).

Because I love it when good/justice prevails over evil, who wouldn’t? Of course that entirely depends on your interpretation of good and evil…

I wish we had actual superheroes, but I love the ‘regular’ heroes we do have: firefighters battling crazy fires and savings lives, policemen going above and beyond, service members abroad and at home, citizens acting like literal heroes, etc. Seriously, props to you all is an understatement.

Probably the main reason I love underdog/heroic stories is because it’s so damn hopeful. Yes, there will be dark times, tough spots, harder decisions, but at the end of it all, there is light, and good, and justice (and ideally peace). The optimist in me thrives on that hope. That the world can change, and be changed!

Powerful stories shape powerful impressions. I guess writing is a superpower too. 😉 Now watch me harness my (newly discovered) superpower and change the world! 😊

Write on,
Ali J.

Do you have a favorite supporting character archetype? What about story type? Is writing your superpower? What are you harnessing it for? Share your thoughts below!

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