Hey writers! Welcome to the FINAL installment of my character series – Flat!
What is a Flat Character?
By the sound of the name, you can guess that a flat character is very 1-dimensional. They are uncomplicated characters that do not face any changes throughout the story. There is usually one, maybe two, identifiable traits about them. Opposite to the round character, they play a small role in the overarching story.
How Do You Build A Flat Character?
Step 1 Know their identifying feature.
The key quality of a flat character is that you don’t know much about them except for one major thing. Typically it’s a very broad characteristic like they are studious or loves animals. The reader can infer many things about them based on these one or two words, but not much else is explained about them.
ex. My character is the class clown.
Step 2 Know their purpose.
Every character in the story, no matter how small, must have a purpose in the story. They are connected to the main character, but don’t get much scene time. If you take them out of the story, the book is not drastically changed, but you still need them for a reason. They’re a parent to the main character that shows up a few times. A shop worker who always has something funny to say. You included them for a reason, just remember what that is and it doesn’t have to be huge.
ex. The class clown is always there to provide a good laugh. They don’t change at all in the story and remain undeveloped aside from their comedic talents.
Step 3 Understand their conflicts and changes.
Flat characters are not the main ones and they are not nearly as complicated as round ones. They are side characters that serve a small purpose in interacting with the main character and helping scenes become fuller. They don’t face much conflict and only personify the one or two main traits they’re given whole-heartedly.
Remember how we talked about dynamic and static characters? When a character is unchanging, they are static. What level of change and conflict will this character go through? Not much, but they may be part of the conflicts and changes in relation to the main character.
ex. The class clown always has a joke or two. The main character wants to be like them and tries to emulate it, but it lands the main character in detention.
Congratulations on creating your flat character and learning about all the different types of characters! You’ve created a protagonist, antagonist, confidante, a dynamic, a static, a round, and now a flat character. Some of them are the same character or there are multiples of each. Your character list is blooming!
Thank you for reading about a Flat Character!
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