NonFiction ~~- The 10 Commandments Of ScreenWriting

Combine Stock Characters To Make Fresh Ones

Creativity 2436 Characters =~2.4Min. Reading Time
Give your audience delightful surprises.
For each character in your story, pair two of the following stock elements (one a primary, extraverted trait, and one a secondary, hidden trait that eventually emerges).
For instance:
  • A village idiot becomes an unlikely hotshot.
  • The angry black woman becomes a damsel in distress
  • A bragging soldier turns out to be a drag queen
  • An elderly martial arts master is secretly an outlaw
  • A spear-carrier turns out to be the Dark Lord
  • The fall Guy turns out to be a mad scientist
  • The bad boy becomes a gentleman thief
  • The Greedy man becomes a tragic hero


  • Whatever works for you.

    A
    Absent-minded professor

    Angry black woman

    B
    Bad boy

    Battle-axe

    Black knight

    Boy next door

    Bug-eyed monster

    C
    Cat lady

    Contender

    Crone

    D
    Damsel in distress

    Dark Lady

    Dark Lord

    E
    Elderly martial arts master

    Everyman

    F
    Fall guy (scapegoat, gullible)

    Farmer's daughter

    Femme fatale

    Final girl

    G
    Gentleman thief

    Girl next door

    Grande dame

    H
    Hag

    Harlequin (Clown)

    Hooker with a heart of gold

    Hotshot

    I
    Ingenue (Innocent female)

    J
    Jock (athlete)

    K
    Knight-errant

    L
    Little Green Men

    Loathsome lady

    Lovers

    M
    Mad scientist

    Magical Negro

    Mammy archetype

    Manic Pixie Dream Girl

    Mary Sue

    Miles Gloriosus (boastful comic soldier)

    Mother's boy

    N
    Nerd

    Noble savage

    O
    Outlaw (stock character)

    P
    Pantomime dame (man in drag)

    Petrushka (Russian Jester)

    Princesse lointaine (distant unattainable love interest of the Knight-errant)

    Professor

    R
    Redshirt (cannon-fodder)

    Rightful king

    S
    Senex iratus (comic father, impostor, angry, obsessed, gullible)

    Shrew (violent nag)

    Sinnekins (pairs of devilish tempters)

    Soubrette (vain, girlish flighty gossip)

    Southern belle

    Space Nazis

    Spear carrier

    Superhero

    รœbermensch (Superman)

    Supersoldier

    Supervillain

    Swashbuckler

    T
    Tomboy

    Tortured artist

    Town drunk

    Tragic hero

    Tragic mulatto (outcast everywhere)

    V
    Vice (Personified Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, Pride)

    Village idiot

    Villain

    W
    Whisky priest

    White hunter (Rich man kills for sport, for trophies and bragging rights)

    Wise fool

    Wise old man

    Y
    Yokel

    Youxia (Chinese Knight-Errant)