A good character is a three-dimensional character, right? They have to be relateable. With wants and fears that make sense. And a bit of a history. And a flaw or two to keep them “human”. And a wound to try and overcome. And maybe even a contradiction within that makes them REALLY human.
Well, maybe not.
There is certainly a place for stock characters or one-note characters, too! Many of us have run into the impatient businessman, the deceptive car dealer, the frazzled parent, and the zen hippy in real life.
Of course, that's surely not ALL there is to each of these folks…but it may be all we get to see before they pass by and out of our lives.
Ditto in fiction. A protagonist might just encounter one of these stock types long enough to experience some extra conflict, or even just some background ambience or colour.
And a quick understanding of certain stock types in fiction can be handy, too, so we can know what we're dealing with in one sentence, or one comic panel, so we can see how our particular Protagonist is going to deal with this Femme Fatale, or schoolyard bully, or officious bureaucrat, or otherdimensional Monster-God (Dormammu shout out).
Maybe the shorthand understanding can even be used to quickly turn expectations upside down…when we think we know the stock character, and then are surprised when they are NOT what they appear to be (which I guess is getting us into two- or three-dimensional characters…)
And there is a solid place for “the mysterious stranger” in fiction: characters in major roles can be fairly limited in dimension and still be awesome (or be awesome BECAUSE of it, even).
And the star themselves can be less dimensional than their supporting cast, too - wouldn't The Tick be way less interesting if he had more nuance? What? You don't remember The Tick cartoon? How DARE you!
Of course, an Antagonistic force can be fascinating (and terrifying) if they're just one-note, unstoppable types. JAWS! The Blob! The original Terminator! Michael Myers! All compelling forces of nature who are made interesting by the other characters' reactions to them and efforts to escape or stop them!
We need not be afraid to put a seemingly one-note type into your story. They can become unexpected stars, after all! Look at LOBO!
Hope you all have a fine, safe, fun Christmas!
talk to you again soon,
Banes at 12:00AM, Dec. 22, 2016
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