For older writers (or group leaders) who’d like to do some serious study into story theory, I highly recommend KM Weiland’s site Helping Writers Become Authors. It’s absolutely chokka with useful information about how novels are structured and how character arcs work.
It’s quite in-depth and might be too complex for younger or less serious writers but something that I thought would be useful to any young writer was her list of the different types of characters in a story.
Every character in a story is there for a reason, and that reason relates to the Protagonist’s journey. Obi-Wan doesn’t just wander into Luke’s Skywalker’s path coincidentally, he’s there to lead Luke to his quest.
So if you’re a bit stuck with a story, it can help to consider exactly which role each of your characters is playing, because that can help you figure out what they should do next or how they should react to things.
I’ve put together a list based on KM Weiland’s article on the different character archetypes so you can download it for your young writers to use as a checklist. (Her article also has a nice diagram of the 5 most important character roles that you can print out though, so check it out.)
Download the checklist here: The different types of character in a story. And get your young writers to ask themselves:
- Which of my characters is performing each role?
- Am I missing any of the character roles?
- Is there anyone who isn’t playing one of these roles?
(And as a fun extra question – Since fiction mirrors real life, who is playing all these roles in my ACTUAL REAL LIFE!!!)