Stereotype, Stock, & Side Characters
This week, Evan and I take on the ambitious task of discussing three character types the final episode of the Good Words character series: Stereotype, Stock, and Side characters. These character types face critique when they are overused and too heavily relied on by authors. We define each character and discuss the ways to use them effectively and break out of some overused character tropes.
Stereotype: a generalized character based on little experience or direct knowledge. We discuss ways to address using known characteristics and changing them up to avoid this writing pitfall.
Stock: a typical character often seen in literature and storytelling. Stock characters, when used well, can flesh out a story plot and make situations seem more realistic. Overuse of stock characters can make writing seem very flat.
Side: closely related to stock characters, side characters are not directly involved in the action of a story but interact with the character in a supporting way. Think of the barkeep at the tavern where the hero begins his journey. Side characters may be named characters but usually have little to no backstory.
This concludes our first topic series for Good Words. In the next chapter we will cover literary devices which are the basic approaches all writers take to crafting literature.
Tune in next time for more Good Words!
Regina & Evan
What are some effective side characters you’ve appreciated? What stereotypes get under your skin? Let us know in the comments.
Regina is a gamer, writer, teacher, and podcaster living in the Pacific Northwest. She completed her Ph.D. in 2011 from Washington State University in Vancouver and continues to teach there part time. Regina’s research interests focus on women and technology, and her dissertation discusses female gamers and identity in digital role playing games. A lifelong geek and technology enthusiast, Regina recently started a Girls Who Code club in support of their mission to close the gender gap in technology.
To continue the conversations about gender and gaming that Regina started during her research, she started a podcast called Game on Girl. Called the “NPR of game podcasts” by Chris Brown of The Married Gamers, the podcast features women involved in the game industry, and tackles some of the complicated issues in the gaming community. Season 2 began in the spring of 2018 and will premiere new episodes monthly.