Villains, heroines, and others are the stuff of stories. Not every story has one of each.
In characterization, the heroine or hero is usually the protagonist. The bad person or sitaution is the antagonist, the one who makes life miserable for the protagonist.
However, when creating characters, an antagonist need not be in the form of a person. The antagonist can be a situation, or a problem that must be overcome.
The ancient Egyptians believed the Ka was the portion of the personality of the deceased that remained inside the tomb with the mummy.
In the case of my story, The Ka has a mission, as delineated in the spells and magic coded into the hieroglyphs on the tomb walls. So the antagonist is not necessarily evil or dastardly, it is simply a force with a mission of its own that cannot be changed. That is what the archaeologists must deal with.
Since readers may have difficulty seeing the Ka spirit among their stereotypical images of villains, I decided instead to allow the story develop the characterization of the Ka. I made several of the human characters the villains. Several female characters, other than the protagonist, also present as heroines but of a minor nature.
When creating characters, producing villains and heroines that are anything but typical takes special characterization.
After reading about the characters, you might wish to read the First Chapter of The Ka, along with how I wrote it.
Here then, is my list of characters in my novel, The Ka.
First, the primary characters in alphabetical order; the ones to whom I gave the greatest importance.
Aaron Ashby - Archaeologist, understudy to Dr. Sterling Withers at California Institute of Archaeology (CIA). Former love interest of Chione Ini-Herit
Dakarai - Madu Museum Historian and Curator
Burton Forbes - Director at the CIA, Patron of the Egyptian Archaeological Trust
Gracie Forbes - Burton Forbes’ wise, patient wife
Bebe Hutton - CIA Historian of great renown
Kenneth Hutton - Bebe Hutton’s husband. Photographer and disabled Viet Nam veteran
Chione Ini-Herit - Student of Archaeological studies. Idealist visionary, whose dreams and paranormal visions lead to the discovery of a tomb and subsequent excavations
Tauret Khnum - The mummy. Also known as Tauret-Aten or Tauret-Amon.
Kendra Laker - CIA’s Conservator of Artifacts, lover of limelight
Royce Laker - Wealthy husband of Kendra, owns an Accounting firm, and has an agenda all his own
Masud - Madu Museum Curator
Ginny McLain - CIA Photographer
Naeem - Madu Museum foreman over laborers under Masud
Randy Osborne - CIA’s Physical Anthropologist, specializing in Genetics and Biochemistry, and whose insecurities could discredit the CIA team
Parker Philips - Director at the CIA, Patron of the Egyptian Archaeological Trust
Carmelita Philips - Parker Philips’ self-centered wife
Quaashie - Madu Museum Foreman over laborers under Dakarai
Paki Rashad - Inspector for Antiquities Society of Egypt
Clifford Rawlings - CIA’s Career Egyptologist with a sense of humor
Rita Rawlings - Devoted wife of Clifford Rawlings, former nurse
Tarik - Young Egyptian boy who befriends Chione
Tutankhamon - One of the best-known Pharaohs of the 18th Dynasty
Sterling Withers - Founder and CEO of California Institute of Archaeology (CIA), and Director of the Egyptian Archaeological Trust
Marlowe Withers - Wife of Dr. Sterling Withers, intensely interested in the paranormal
Villains and heroines can be found among the secondary characters as well. They occupy smaller parts in the story. Some seldom speak or never do. These are the background people.
Just as a film company puts out a casting call for extras that might simply walk down the street behind some action that is taking place, these people are the extras in my book. Some speak, but little.
When creating these characters, I still paid particular attention to characterization.
Some times the culprits or heroes and heroines function behind the scenes, making them more difficult to create.
It helps when you are creating characters to see your villains and heroines as people in a movie.
Actually, if you can see your entire story as a film, in your mind, characterization becomes easy.
The following is a list of minor characters. While some having speaking parts, they either have small speaking parts and appearances, or come into the story so late, that his or her scenes, though important, are small.
I’ll be nice and tell you now, no true villains and heroines are among this second bunch.
Amunet - Sorceress
Armed Guard - Questionable group of area police who wear gallibayas, nearly indistinguishable from the laborers
Dr. Salib Asim - Egyptian Forensic Pathologist in Cairo specializing in mummies
Bolis - Common term for the official Egyptian Police Force, who wear white uniform tunics over dark trousers
Hadden Bourne - Journalist and Archivist for the London News-Herald
Finn - Norwegian, involved in restoration of a dig site across the Valley
Edmond Hale - Reporter for San Francisco Sentinel
Kenneth Hutton, Jr. - Bebe and Kenneth Hutton’s estranged son
Helen Ini-Herit - Chione's adoptive mother
Jibade Ini-Herit - Chione’s second adoptive father
Irwin - American, cook for the CIA team
Dr. Jasper Kent - British Medical Research Scientist based in Cairo
Meskhenet Khnum - Mother of the mummy, Tauret-Aten Khnum
Umi Khnum - Father of the mummy, Tauret-Aten Khnum, Pharaoh’s clothier
Siti - Egyptian woman, servant at the dig site
Carol Stockard - Reporter for San Francisco Sentinel
Radcliffe Stroud - Journalist Photographer for the London News-Herald
Terji - Norwegian, Foreman restoring a separate dig site across the Valley
Usi - Dakarai's cousin
Peter Vimble - Physician in Cairo and Luxor
Yafeu - Egyptian, cook for the CIA team
Elbertina Yago - Gypsy trader, artifacts procurer, eldest Yago sibling
Emilio Yago - Eldest Yago brother
Claudio Yago - Middle Yago brother
Rogelio Yago - Youngest Yago brother
That’s twenty-four major characters and twenty-five minor characters. Whew!
When creating characters in such a vast array, their characterization makes them different than the rest of the people in the story. However, it’s best if they don’t stand out. Let the story spring the surprise about who is the villain.
Creating villains and heroines is one of my favorite tasks in journaling or writing summaries.
Oftentimes I see a characteristic in a person that I could put into one of my stories. It goes right into my notes. I people watch, like most writers do. But I never see true villains or heroines. In my writing, people such as those are a conglomerate of traits.
Villains and heroines take considerable more work to build their characterization.
Read the brief descriptions of at least the primary characters and see if you can tell who might be one of the villains or one of the heroines, or who might become one.
Some notes about choosing character names:
When deciding what to name your characters, my opinion is that it’s best to have a book of names handy. Get one of those that also interpret the names.
An example of choosing a name is my play on words when naming the head of the archaeological institute. That is Dr. Sterling Withers.
I decided to use the name Withers simply because of the meaning of it. Withers. Something withered, like a mummy. I even snickered to myself when I decided to use it.
Dr. Withers is elderly, ready to retire. So he’s no smooth-faced youngster. He’s got wrinkles. So do mummies, believe me!
Having decided to use that name, I decided to give him a classical first name, which would also determine his stature and sophistication in the story. He had to have a real upstanding first name. He is not one of the villains. Dr. Sterling Withers clicked for me.
Names must not only fit the personalities of the characters but maybe the careers as well. How would these sound? Dr. Sterling October. Dr. Sterling Barber. Nothing but what I chose worked for me.
Remember the movie, Dr. No? That name really fit, didn’t it?
I spent much time choosing names for each of the characters above, villains and heroines alike. Each one has a name that at least reflects their character, even the Egyptian and other names.
Whether villains and heroines or a plain, simple character, if they are from a foreign country, get the foreign names and the spellings correct.
In one of my yet unpublished mysteries, the main male character is an ordinary guy who has made good. I named him Joe.
Names give your characters believability. Have fun with your story people and they will spring to life.