Character Types: Static & Dynamic, Foils & Mirrors

Character Types: Static & Dynamic, Foils & Mirrors

In this post, we write about static and dynamic character types, as well as characters who are foils and mirrors.

Besides the four main characters and other archetypes, we can go a little deeper into character. Consider the following.

Character Types: Some Characters Change, Some Stay The Same

Static & Dynamic Characters

Some of our characters are dynamic and they change. Others are static and they don’t.


Consider the awesome foursome. As the writer we need to know everything about these characters. The more we know the more we can layer our stories. These are dynamic characters; they have story arcs. They undergo change. These are the people we root for. They take action. They are different people at the end of the story.


There are some main characters who remain static. They cannot change or do not want to change. There may be a lot of change around them – in their environment and in their relationships, but their personality stays the same. Examples of these characters include Sherlock Holmes and Captain America.

There are also characters that we need to know very little about, consider them the walk-on characters. Depending on your story they can be messengers, waitresses, delivery guys, or anyone you need. These characters serve a function; they add to the scene or show the character of the main characters. They don’t necessarily have story arcs. We don’t need to know a lot about them.

Some Characters Reflect And Highlight One Another

Mirror & Foil Characters

You also use mirrors and foils. They serve to reflect or highlight traits in our characters.

Mirrors reflect:

They show us what we look like and can be used to highlight similarities. Mirrors also reflect in opposites. A mirror image, literally. Use these characters to show the similarities they share with your hero. You know what they say about birds of a feather.

Foils accentuate:

They are used to highlight differences and opposites. Most common will be the clash of morals and goals between the protagonist and the antagonist. Find ways to use opposites to highlight strengths and weaknesses of your characters.

Character Types: Static & Dynamic, Foils & Mirrors

How can you do this in your story?

Review your character list. Work through it and decide which characters are dynamic and static, and which are mirrors and foils. This will help you to add depth to your story, and focus your use of the different kinds of characters.

[TOP TIP: Use our Character Creation Kit to help you create great characters for your stories.]

Posted on: 20th April 2016