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Why Are Characters Important in a Story? 4 Ways Essential Characters Make Contributions

Why Are Characters Important in a Story? 4 Ways Essential Characters Make Contributions

As a writer, you know that a story can’t exist without characters. But have you ever wondered: “Why are characters important in a story?”

Perhaps you’ve questioned an even tougher problem: “When is a character important enough to keep in a story, and when does the narrative work better without them?” 

In order for a side character—or any character—to matter in a story, they have to work as an essential character that impacts the protagonist, plot, setting, or another important aspect that shapes or moves a story forward. 

In this article, you’ll learn four ways that determine if (1) the character is essential, and (2) how they contribute to a story. You’ll also learn the major types of characters and ways to determine if—for the characters who don’t qualify as essential—you’re better off revising their role, or cutting them from the plot. 

Story Arcs: Definitions and Examples of the 6 Shapes of Stories

Story Arcs: Definitions and Examples of the 6 Shapes of Stories

In stories, we get to see the cause-and-effect connections between otherwise random events. We get to experience the deeper meaning in life. We get to see through the chaos of real life and see the underlying pattern.

The literary term for this pattern is story arc, and humans love story arcs.

In this article, we’re going to talk about the definition of story arcs, look at the six most commonly found story arcs in literature, talk about how to use them in your writing, and, finally, study which story arcs are the most successful.

How to Make Money as an Author: Important Tips for a Writer’s Success

How to Make Money as an Author: Important Tips for a Writer’s Success

Writing an effective sales description is an important part of the book business. Using the basic pattern outlined above, practice writing the sales copy for a book you’ve written or one you are in the process of writing.

If you don’t currently have a book project, write the blurb for a book you read recently, or even a movie you watched. The point is to practice looking at the story from a marketer’s perspective and writing a description that sells.

Take fifteen minutes to write your blurb. When you’re done, share your blurb in the comments below. Be sure to leave feedback for your fellow writers who want to be successful authors! Based on their blurbs alone, would you read the book?

Sign up for one of our free writing tutorials to get to the next level.

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Short Story Tutorial

Short stories were once the training grounds for the best writers in the world. Discover how to write a short story, submit it to magazines, and get it published through this free short story tutorial.
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Characterization Tutorial

Good characters are why people read stories, so make sure your characters are awesome. Hook your readers and draw them into the story in this free characterization tutorial.

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Grammar Tutorial

Good Grammar might seem old fashioned, but editors and publishers still care about grammar. Avoid rejection and make your writing shine through this free grammar tutorial.


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Interviewing Tutorial

Giving a good interview is a skill almost all professional writers need. Add depth, expertise, and precision to your writing through this free interviewing tutorial.

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