38 Character Personality Types

38 Character Personality Types

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It’s important to develop the personalities of the characters in your stories lest they all end up sounding like slight variations of the same person.

Before exploring personality types, we need to know the important character roles for an effective story. You won’t use them all. For example, you usually won’t need both a hero and anti-hero.

CHARACTER ROLES

The Main Character

The person we follow or who tells the story.

The Protagonist

The character that moves the story forward.

The Hero

The main character and protagonist as the same person.

The Anti-Hero

A cowardly, antisocial, or honor-less protagonist.

The Contagonist

A character who points out the protagonist’s weak or dark side and challenges them to face it.

The Antagonist

The villain of your story. Usually a person, but can be extreme weather, natural disasters, the economy, or an internal enemy (detachment, addiction, greed, lust, anger, etc.).

The Obstacle Character

A character who prevents the protagonist from achieving their goal. They could be allied with either the protagonist or the antagonist.

The Sidekick

An effective, subordinate companion of a leader, the hero, or the villain.

CHARACTER PERSONALITY TYPES

These are stereotypes. When used for important characters, you should modify them or add contradictions to make them more interesting. Some are gender specific, but don’t let that stop you from using them for the opposite gender.

The Absent-Minded Professor

An intellectual who is so wrapped up in their thoughts they forget obvious everyday things.

The Battle Axe

A domineering and disagreeable woman.

The Bimbo

A dumb pretty woman.

The Catalyst

Makes things happen, sometimes without fully understanding why the protagonist or antagonist wants them to happen. May misunderstand what is wanted and do the wrong thing.

The Contender

A competitive underdog. Never able to best the big dog and may be the big dog’s motivation to keep improving.

The Contrarian

A character who raises objections to almost everything out of either stupidity, pragmatism, or politics. Their objections are almost always wrong.

The Coward

Easily persuaded to do things when confronted by a threat.

The Devil

An enemy who gives a character strength because they must go beyond their limits to defeat him.

The Gossip

Wants to be the first to know and share everything.

The Femme Fatal

A beautiful, but mischievous and traitorous woman.

The Hedonist

Lives each day like it is their last. Often has many addictions.

The Hero Wannabe

They are so determined to be the hero that they overlook what it means to be heroic and may go over to the dark side.

The Hotshot

A reckless risk taker.

The Jock

A male athlete, muscular, but not very smart.

The Jolly Fat Man

A fun loving fat guy who usually has money. May also enjoy fighting.

The Lone Vigilante

A loner who becomes a vigilante for justice.

The Loser

Everything goes wrong for them. Their luck is always bad.

The Loveable Rogue

They break the law for personal profit, but their victims are bad people. They usually don’t kill anyone.

The Manipulator

Influences people and situations for their own goals using deceit.

The Martyr

Wants to suffer or die for other people or a cause. Referred to as “the hanged man” if they actually die to help the protagonist succeed.

The Mother’s Boy

A man who is overly attached to his mother.

The Nerd

A socially-impaired, obsessive, or overly-intellectual person. Often interested in doing well in school and reading books.

The Over Man or Super Man

A character who is constantly exceeding their limits in order to grow as a person.

The Rake

A person in the habit of immoral conduct.

The Reluctant Hero

A person who doesn’t consider themselves a hero or seek adventure, but is pushed into heroic deeds by people or circumstances.

The Reluctant Monster

A character who does damage while attempting to do good.

The Rogue

Looks out for himself above everyone else. Will not take risks for the sake of someone else unless there’s something in it for him.

The Slave

May be an actual slave or an employee trapped in servitude due to a weak economy or their own bad choices.

The Story Teller

A character who tells one or more interesting stories within the novel. A story may be used to help the reader understand a group, a society, or a character’s motivation. A story may also be used to move the novel’s plot forward.

The Sycophant

A self-seeking flatterer close to someone in power.

The Tomboy

A girl who acts like a boy.

The Tower

An unassailable character, usually the villain. To overcome the tower, the protagonist will need to get through a seemingly endless number of blocks. The blocks may be people, distance, bureaucracy, physical obstacles, or all of these.

The Town Bully

A bully who oppresses the meeker residents of a town. This is usually the mayor, sheriff, a religious leader, or rich businessperson.

The Tragic Hero

A hero with a weakness that leads to their death or defeat.

The Supreme Warrior

An intelligent fighter who can beat anyone at hand-to-hand and armed combat. Usually has a police or military background; sometimes both. In pulp fiction, the protagonist and antagonist are often both supreme warriors.

The Victim

Lives their life based on the fear that a past hurt will be repeated.

The Village Idiot

A person with a reputation as an idiot who may actually be intelligent, brave, and good.

The Yokel

An unsophisticated and poorly educated country person.

This list of stereotypes is not the whole list of possibilities. That list would be endless. Between this list and some thought about real people you’ve met, you should be able to imagine some unique personalities and avoid similar character types in your stories.

For another angle on character types, check out my previous post, 13 Character Archetypes.

Article by Ivan Izo.

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