Last week I discussed a few character types, specifically main character, protagonist and hero/heroine.

So the main character/protagonist/hero or heroine have to have someone, something to fight against or it’ll be a very boring, very thin and very one-sided story.

So that brings in the antagonist, villain, contagonist.

The Antagonist is the protagonist’s obstacle, their main goal is to stop protagonist from getting to their goal. The Villain is the exact polar opposite of the hero.

And what is a Contagonist?

The Contagonist is someone who works to hinder the progress of the protagonist but may not necessarily want to stop them from their goal but lure them away or tempt them from the path into another direction, possibly false or alternative goal.

How can you tell the difference?

The antagonist wants to stop the protagonist permanently. The contagonist wants to divert, delay or distract the protagonist from their goal for a short time. Another difference is the contagonist can be someone who is allied with either the protagonist or the antagonist. Usually the contagonist is made the henchman or minion of the villain/antagonist and is cast as the thorn in the side or pain in the butt or bad influence when allied with the protagonist.

There is also the anti-hero and anti-villain to consider.

The Anti-Hero is that shade of gray character. He’s middle of the road, a cross between good and evil. This character is dark, edgy and usual the opposite of the traditional hero type, a morally challenged, morally questionable misfit.

At the opposite end of the anti-hero is the Anti-Villain. This character is the villain but who has a good heart, decent morals and some good qualities and virtues. A mix of good and bad and moral ambivalence. The anti-villain tends to work because of this imbalance within his own character. This type of character can be more believable and more threatening as an antagonist.

The anti-hero and anti-villain work because they blur the distinction between their counterparts hero and villain. And also can be used to darker or lighten their counterparts, respectively. These character types are ofter used to confuse the hero/heroine (and sometimes the readers) in the story and throw them off.

Next week I’ll discover more on character archetypes.