Types of Supporting Characters

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I'm back! I'll keep this one shorter than the last one. Maybe. I'll try. 

Now, side characters. They can be glorious. They can be gloriously bad. Sometimes, they feel like a waste of space. Other times, we wish they were the protagonist because we love them so much. 

Side characters are honestly so important. What would a story be if all stories only had one character? A bit flavourless, if I do say so myself. But they need to be purposeful, relevant, and somehow add to the protagonists' story, goal or development. 

These guys are so important! And, eventually, I'll be doing a chapter about how to write a good side character. For now, though, let's have some fun!

Let's go through the types of side characters we see in almost every novel!

Of course, antagonists technically count as supporting characters. But we just did a full chapter about the types of them! So I'll leave them out. 


Do I even need to talk about them? There are so many types of them, it would take me years to talk about them. 

Like all human relationships, they help develop the protagonist. They are usually involved in the plot through some way. They are usually really attractive, if they are on Wattpad. 

Moving along. I'm too single and too lonely to want to talk about them. 


Okay, every time I see one of these in a book, I freak out. 

Because, when I was eight years old, a fortune-teller read my palm. And she told me my husband would die in war at a young age. Like... what? What? I wish I was kidding. 

Anyways! In books, these are the little prophets who warn the protagonist, or give them clues, or just build suspense. They often speak in fancy rhyme, or in strange, whimsical ways. They're always really fascinating, but only if done well! 

If they just randomly pop up, and are like, 'Yo. You'll fall in love... and find a green stone... and save the world.. and your husband will die at a young age because of a war.' Then it's like... yeah, well, we could have gathered that without your help. Thanks for wasting two pages. And giving me trauma. 


This can come in a few different styles! But it's usually based on what the protagonist is learning. If they are learning to fight, their mentor is usually a kickass fighting expert. If the protagonist is learning to wield magic, their mentor is probably very gifted in magic. If the protagonist is a goat, their mentor is probably an older goat. 

Lots of different types! They are usually quite wise, full of good advice, and help start the protagonist's journey. 

Teachers can fit here, as can scientists and historians. 


These ones always send me because I just know that, if I was in a book, my dog would be the protagonist and I would be the supporting character. Literally. I walk my dog. And I meet people. 

Do they ever ask for my name? No. Do they always ask for my dog's name? Yes. 

It's bizarre. 

In literature, however, the protagonist is often a human, and there is a pet of some sort that is a supporting character. It has voice, personality, and sometimes comes with advice as well. I'm thinking about Mr Kindly, a sort of cat/shadow in Nevernight. I'm talking Manchee, the perfect little dog in The Knife of Never Letting Go. I'm talking Flounder and Sebastian, from The Little Mermaid.

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