What are Good Reasons to Add a New Character to a Story?

What I mean by this is that we know that many writers have a reason for adding a character to their story and making the role of that character that role. I’ve tried looking up motives, but I can’t seem to find anything related to my question.

If you still don’t understand what I’m trying to ask, I mean examples like these:

  • Christina is the protagonist of this story because…
  • Lola is the villan of this story because…
  • I added José to this story because…

So, can you guys help me think of motives for a character role/why the character could be added to a story so I can think of reasons to add to my characters (just so they don’t look like they were added for no reason at all)?

Some tags (let me know if you want your tag removed):

@Martini_98 @line123462 @noyaan @khair @lanafrazer_episode @schittwriter @AJ_PELZER @CrimsonCat6

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To teach the MC something

To connect to a much later mentioned plot point

To establish a connection with MC cuz friendships are important…and then later can be used to further the plot and an ally if ur story is that way

Tbh depends on the story ur tryin to tell…

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A new character can be added only to further the plot. It could be because there is a need to replace someone, add a twist, introduce a love interest, add someone as a mean to gain information, to teach something to the main character etc

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Ooooh I like that

Also can be used to learn something about MCs past ha

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This is the motto I tend to go by when I write, so I’m hoping this’ll help for you!

The MC’s journey is just one part of a whole picture, zoomed onto one point.

In other words, every story has one clear plotline, one specific thing that affects the lives of the story’s characters. When I say “zoomed onto one point” what I mean is that before the entire main plotline gets revealed, you should think to yourself, “Okay, so how will this affect each character?”

So when thinking of new characters to add to your cast, try to consider where each character may fit into that plot.

(Here’s a quick example in case I’m not explaining this well)

MAIN PLOT: There’s a huge party going on at the highschool that everyone is going to.

The MC: Stressing out because she has nothing to wear, and has no ride to the huge party and wants a complete makeover to prepare for the time of her life.

Extra Character 1: MC’s best friend who assists the MC by taking her shopping so that she can find a cute outfit for the huge party

Extra Character 2: Some guy they meet at the store who is also going to the huge party and has a car, so that he could drive the MC and her friend to the party. They become friends in the process.

As you can see from the example, each character I added somehow ties back to that main plot. So when you create another character and want them to be important, I’d recommend keeping this in mind.

Another thing–even if it feels like you’re adding characters for no reason, that’s not always a bad thing! Some characters are just there for comic relief. Like the kid who always farts in class for no reason during uncomfortable silence?? Bad example but you get the idea :joy:

Hope this helps out a little and good luck with your story! :heart:

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This and the other examples above from the others definitely help a lot! Thank you! :smile:

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Aw I’m glad to hear! :smiling_face:

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You can also add characters for MC’s friends for instance they also have LIs or annoying little brothers and sisters or something like that. That way MC’s friends can have subplots and are not only MC’s sidekicks.

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what is their purpose in the plot, why are they there, what are they doing there.

they dont need a motive to be there, a motive is what they are doing stuff. example a motive is the mean girl hateing MC because she stole her boyfriend.
a reason is to be an obstacle for the MC.

questions you need to ask yourself when adding characters. especially one who are gonna be involved for a longer time. why are they here, what are they doing, can my story continue uninterrupted if I don’t add them.

reason can be small, adding a likeable character to kill them for MC’s development is a reason to add them.

For example, I added a character a few chapters ago, he will play a bit bigger role, but his purpose to enter was to bring a message to the royal castle. and an important item to the MC.

Another character I have who has been seen in the background and intradoused but readers has not meet yet, is an old school mate of the MC.

I recommend, you think about this questions

why are they here?
How will they affect MC?
can I just make an already existing character do it?

also can I give an advice, I often see in stories, MC just meet this person, and the person is already ready to do everything for them(or hate them with a passion with zero reason) its rushed, and doesn’t create natural feelings between them. try and take development slow. and realistic.

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Thank you for adding this! I’ll keep it in mind!

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It’s more interesting that having a small base of characters. I’m not sure I understand the question properly though

I meant as in the reason a certain character is important to your story. Like the others have said, the character might be important to the story to teach a lesson, befriend the MC, or help the MC on an adventure.

I think I know a few motives that is universally compatible. I’ll base them off archetypes to better solidify them into suitable categories.

Protagonist:

  • The main positive drive force of the story.
    eg. A king-to-be who drew a magic sword out of a stone casted by a wizard to save the chaotic land this guy lives in; An assassin who buried his/her past going back into the underground to revenge his/her dog’s killer.

Antagonist:

  • The main obstacle the protagonist must overcome to achieve the protagonist’s goal
    eg. crazy uncle who his billionaire nephew must defeat to prevent the uncle from weaponizing the nephew’s inventions; blind monsters from another world that attacks everything that makes a sound the main characters must avoid to stay alive.
  • A rival who makes his/her standpoint clear to oppose the protagonist.
    eg. a strong enemy team in a dodgeball tournament the protagonist must fight in the finals to win the tourney; An evil supreme leader of an empire who wants to terminate the last of the protagonist’s bloodline for treason.

Sidekick (a broader term would be allies):

  • Wants to achieve the same thing as the protagonist as part of the protagonist’s team.
    eg. wants to finish a military training w/ the MC; wants to win a basketball competition in the MC’s team
    (These guys are usually one-dimensional if intended for the Sidekick role only. Mix and match them with some other roles underneath.)

Anti-hero:

  • A shared goal with the protagonist to achieve something, but achieves it in the way the protagonist wouldn’t want to.
    eg. Saving the future with the protagonist but by killing the perpetrators which the protagonist fully opposes; defeats the final boss by using an inhumane but effective method.
  • Opposition of the protagonist who unites together due to external threat and urgency.
    eg. the cooperation of a criminal and a cop to stop a larger organization who threatens both the cop and the criminal personally; love rivals uniting to stop the protagonist from succumbing to his/her depression.

Anti-villain:

  • Opposition of protagonist who wants to do the right thing but in a messed up way.
    eg. wants to save his/her own race of species by killing off another species to inhabit their planet; wipes out half of life to prevent life itself from collapsing like the anti-villain’s home planet did.
  • Allies with the main antagonist under unexpected scenarios due to external threat and/or urgency.
    eg. A man with half of his face burnt teams up with a psychopath clown due to their shared hatred towards, basically everyone; An ally general turning out to be second-in-command to the leader of a rebellion (antagonist) to overthrow the protagonist and take his/her throne.

(I call these guys) Wanderers:

  • A guidance, obstacle, or even a manipulator who works alone for his/her own selfish goals and does not take sides in the rivalry of the protagonist vs antagonist.
    eg. a guardian of a super important relic the protagonist must fight to prove his/her worthiness to obtain the relic; a broker for a crime syndicate for the protagonist to mask him/herself as the antagonist to obtain literal nukes.

(also what I call these guys) Keyholders:

  • Is (what I like to call) win condition for the protagonist/antagonist to achieve a certain goal.
    eg. holds the key to a treasure the MC’s team/duo has been fighting for; has a secret that the antagonist needs to break open portals between dimensions.
  • On the flip side, they could be the weakness (embedded in a character) for the protagonist/antagonist that they must protect.
    eg. the only blood related sibling an assassin has that his/her enemy wants to hurt to make the fight more personal; someone who only left the protagonist/antagonist memories to remember him/her for that the enemy wants to destroy.

(I don’t know if this is what people will call them but I call them) Mentors:

  • One who teaches the protagonist/antagonist and contributes to their insights, perspective and methods to approach a certain goal.
    eg. a jedi who teaches a kid with strong force to prevent the dark side from prevailing; an old man who taught the depressed protagonist/antagonist the importance of present and the reason to achieve a goal right now.

(Last but not least, what I call these guys) Training dummies:

  • they get shot, hurt, injure and potentially die. The best part: they can be anyone from what I’ve mentioned above, but Keyholders, Mentors and Sidekicks fit this role so well it hurts.
  • They’re there to evoke emotions from the characters and readers, developing the emotional side of the story and also adds a personal layer to any form of conflict any character will have with each other.
    eg. Keyholder: someone of importance to the antagonist was taken away from the anti-hero, so the antagonist seeks the protagonist for that someone of importance to fight for him/her;
    eg. Mentor: A teacher of a warrior dies in battle, leaving the student to wander and to escape the warzone alone with no cover, and caught between the crossfire of two rivalries unrelated to the student.
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