The Storyteller Journey: chapter 3- Main characters (part a – inspirations)

Once finished with my basic idea, I moved back to the original space.

Above the page appeared more words.

‘What would you like to look at next storyteller?’

Hum… I thought as I tapped the pen against my lips.

How about, the main character…

A new page appeared with more instruction.

‘There are many ways which one could create a main character, all different for all storytellers. But here are three points many agree you should think about when doing so:




Click one to get started.’

Reaching out, I clicked on the first, Inspiration

‘Now there are many ways to be inspired to create a character but here are four many storytellers find helpful:

  1. Archetypes.

Archetypes are original models after which other similar things are patterned – in this case, it’s the basic idea of characters.

For example, your main character may have the archetype of an old-style football club chairman or an archetype of an uptight old woman.

Takes these archetypes as basic ideas for which you can expand upon.

Here are some rounded archetypes often used in literature to get you thinking:

  • the hero (often used for the protagonist – but remember, they don’t always have to be)

  • the mentor (often old and of extensive knowledge in the matter at hand)

  • the victim/innocent (often the archetype of female characters and children)

  1. Acquaintance

Storytellers have often said their best characters are often inspired by the people around them. This can include a family member, friends, school mates and so on.

In these cases, the storyteller’s character traits will reflect that of their chosen inspiration.

Though it is good to mention that this does not mean that they always stay as a copy of the person, but hold very strong bases of a liking to them.

Some will not just focus on one person but rather a range of people picking and choosing which character traits they like and don’t from these people.

  1. Within

Another way storytellers have found inspiration is within themselves. This can happen in multiple ways. Once is simply to share traits of their own with characters, just one or two maybes, and build up a character through that. Another way is to uses qualities which you wish for yourself, or create a character that would be the best of them or the person they wish they could be. Sometimes it may be the case of creating characters using single emotions a storyteller may have required at the time of creating, such as strength, hope, and faith.

  1. by the plot

Many storytellers are also inspired to create characters by the plot of their story. Knowing where they wish to start and end up helps in creating a character with the specific requirements they require to tell their story.

For example, if they wish to write a story about the zombie apocalypses they will be inspired to write a character with fighting skill and quick thinking. Or if they were to write a story that requires an ending where the character dies, they may be inspired to create a character with a fault that leads to this ultimate demise.

Remember: there may be other methods that may work for you, not these alone. It just takes time to find which and sometimes it may be one alone method alone or maybe a mix of many.’


Come back next weekend for the storyteller’s journey chapter 3 (part b -characterisation)


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