Static vs. Dynamic Characters (And uses for each)

Static characters are characters that don’t change or develop much over the course of a story. They can be well rounded. They can be fully fleshed out with a rich backstory and a relatable personality. But those things likely won’t shift much over the course of the story.

As such, they’re commonly cast as secondary characters. A best friend that’s always good for a laugh. A big brother that always does right by his siblings.

That sort of thing.

But they don’t always have to be secondary characters. (We’ll come back to this.)

Dynamic characters change and develop. They learn lessons or crumble beneath the weight of their problems. The story and the events within it shape them into something new.

Main characters are often challenged by the stories they’re in. They face adversity, and very few people can do that without being shaken, without being changed. Thus, most main characters are dynamic.

But those roles aren’t fixed.

A secondary character may crumble beneath the weight of their own problems, or they might rise to meet a challenge with their main character friend. This isn’t exactly uncommon.

But a static character as a lead?

Yep. It can be done.

These characters fully believe in what they’re doing and their way of life. Their story isn’t so much about the way their world changes them, but about the way they change the world around them to fit their beliefs.

They likely face a lot of opposition, and the challenge for them is staying true to themselves, staying strong. They may waver a bit, but without a substantial change in their worldview, they’re still technically a static character.

And while dynamic characters are a personal favorite, static characters can still be interesting, if only for their strength and perseverance.

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