Hey writers! Welcome to the sixth installment of my character series – Round!
What is a Round Character?
A round character is used as a secondary descriptor for any main character. They have several traits, which serves to make them complex and more relatable as real people. Their opposite is a flat character, which will be discussed on Wednesday.
How Do You Build A Round Character?
Step 1 Identify their primary descriptor.
A round character is usually a main character, but which one? Are they a protagonist, antagonist, or confidante? Are they the mother, child, or another significant character? What descriptors are used in relation to round? It may help to write a list of every character in your story and include what types of characters they are to help you identify the round ones. It can be used for multiple characters and paired with other types!
ex. Both the protagonist and antagonist are round characters, as they are complex with multiple traits and relatable qualities.
Step 2 Know their qualities.
A key aspect of being a round character is that they have several traits. They are more than just a bad guy or a shop clerk. Who are they and what makes them unique and interesting? Can you list 10 items?
ex. Friendly, mechanic, jokester, family man, educated, loves animals, enjoys nature walks, has two kids, wants his own mechanic shop, has angry fits.
Step 3 Know their purpose.
Part of building a round character is knowing why they’re included in the story. This is true for any character and it adds to what makes them interesting. What are their goals within the story and how do they serve to push the plot along?
ex. He dreams to open his own mechanic job, but his family responsibilities make him feel held back.
Step 4 Understand their relatability.
Readers love to relate to the characters they read about. There are many layers to make your characters this way like their flaws, dreams, the complexity of who they are. Understand how your readers will connect with this character and ensure that you are happy with who this complex character is.
ex. This man has dreams, but thinks they are unattainable. He’s afraid of failing. Everyone can relate to this on some level.
Step 5 Understand their conflicts and changes.
Throughout every story, there is conflict. Without it, what reason do your readers have to read? Round characters face conflict as they make choices throughout the book. What level of conflict will they have? If they’re the main character, probably plenty. If they’re a side character, like a best friend, maybe one.
Other types of characters we’ve discussed are dynamic and static. Dynamic characters go through a significant change, and static ones don’t. A character can be round without experiencing this change. What level of change will your character go through? Similar to above, a main character may experience a significant change, while their friend does not. But both can be round characters!
ex. This man is the main character, so he will be conflicted between balancing family and his dream of opening a mechanic shop. His significant change is that he learns he’s capable of doing more than he thought and becomes a more confident man. This makes him a protagonist, round, and dynamic.
Congratulations on creating your round character! You’ve created a protagonist, antagonist, confidante, a dynamic, and a static character. Some of them are the same character or there are multiples of each. Your character list is shaping up!
Thank you for reading about a Round Character!
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