Glossary

Glossary of terms used on this website to describe the importance of characters in the Possibilities series:

Protagonist:
The protagonist is the leading character. In the Possibilities Series there is a male protagonist and a female protagonist. The series is character driven science fiction; the story is their story. The personalities of the protagonists are fully developed. Their back stories are developed. They frequently drive the plot, and other characters in the series derive their importance from the impact they have on the protagonists. Sometimes the stories of the two protagonists are one and the same story. Sometimes they’re different. But even when different, the two are related.

Much of the action takes place around one protagonist, the other, or both. If either appears in a scene, unless the other also appears in the scene, that one is usually the point of view character. If both appear in a scene, it is almost always one or the other who is the point of view character.

Major Character:
Major characters have a major impact upon one or both of the protagonists. They are multifaceted characters whose back story is explored at least to some extent. Their actions precipitate important events. They are frequently involved in the action. And they have numerous speaking lines. If neither protagonist is present in a scene it is most often a major character who is the point of view character in the scene.

Some parts of the story are as much the story of some of the major characters as they are of the protagonists. A major character may have his or her own important subplot in the story. And some lesser characters are significant because of their relationship to one or more major characters rather than their relationship to either of the protagonists.

Significant Character:
Significant characters have an impact on one or both of the protagonists or upon one or more major characters. That impact is usually direct, but may be indirect. They are involved in major events and plot developments in the story, though rarely as the most important player in those events and developments. They’re well developed characters. Occasionally some of their back stories may be developed, especially those which show their histories with major characters and the protagonists. Occasionally a significant character will be the leading character in a subplot. And significant characters sometimes precipitate important events and plot developments.

Generally, significant characters have moderately extensive speaking parts. But one significant character in the series doesn’t have a single line. It’s his edicts, conveyed by his minions, which have a very significant effect upon the lives of both protagonists and all the major characters.

Supporting Character:
A supporting character may have a significant impact upon a protagonist or major character. But for the most part supporting characters are important to the story because they provide a social context for its major players. They sometimes initiate action or a plot development. But they’re not central to the plot. A supporting character is usually more than one dimensional, and will, with rare exceptions, have a speaking part.

There are three levels of supporting character: major supporting character, significant supporting character and supporting character. Major supporting characters, as a general rule, have a significant impact on more important characters than significant supporting characters do, who, in turn, have an impact on more important characters than ordinary supporting characters do. As a general rule a major supporting character will have more lines to speak than a significant supporting character and a lot more lines than an ordinary supporting character. A supporting character who initiates plot changes will always be a major or significant supporting character.

Contributing Characters:
Contributing characters make small but meaningful contributions to the story. They may help to move a scene along or help to provide a transition from one scene to another. They may help to fill out a scene. Their presence in or absence from a scene may indicate a difference between one alternate universe and another.

There are two kinds of contributing characters: significant contributing characters and contributing characters. The most important difference between them is that a significant contributing character will actually appear in a scene and have at least one speaking line. Ordinary contributing characters may only receive mention by name. They don’t have speaking lines.

Viewpoint Character:
The story is written in the third person throughout the series. So the viewpoint character is the character from whose perspective the story is told. The reader sees and hears what the viewpoint character sees and hears in the scene. The reader is privy to the viewpoint character’s thoughts.

The story in the Possibilities series isn’t told from the viewpoint of one single character. Over the course of the series dozens of characters serve as the viewpoint character in at least one scene. Most serve as the viewpoint character in just a handful of scenes at most. Where the protagonists are present one is almost always the character from whose point of view the scene is presented. A handful of major characters provide the point of view for the majority of the remaining scenes.

Speaking Part:
A character with a speaking part actually speaks at some point in the series. His or her or its words actually appear in quotation marks. One character speaks by recorded message only. Several unnamed characters communicate in thoughts. Their thoughts are quoted in words.

Has a Private Scene with a Protagonist:
This character interacts one-on-one with one of the two protagonists at some time in the course of the series.

Has a Private Scene with a Major Character:
This character interacts one-on-one with a major character at some time in the course of the series.

Villain:
A villain is a character who provides the plot with evil agency. The Possibilities series has no archetypal villain. There are a number of characters who perform villainous deeds and they are listed as villains on their character pages. But each lacks something necessary in a true villain. Some lack the power to act effectively as an agent of evil. Some lack the self-awareness that they are doing evil. Most have at least minor redeeming qualities which mar their dedication to evil.