Character Types: The Helper

Hey SE Readers. Joan with you today. This is the sixth and final in a series of posts about character types. The ideas come from my personal observations or public knowledge of well-known people. The other posts are The Attention Seeker, The “I Can Top That” Person, The Know it All, The Introvert, and The Extrovert.

He “thinks” he’s helping.
(Creative Commons photo from Pixabay.)

It seems like a lot of families have at least one person that fits this category. My Aunt Betty was one. If a person asked for something, she was on her feet before you could blink an eye. Even saying aloud, “I think I’ll have a sandwich,” was enough to send her scurrying to the kitchen.

Helpers are selfless individuals who thrive on serving. Their needs are second to the needs of others. They are friendly and outgoing without being overbearing.

The helper is the one who prepares food when someone is sick. The one to mow another neighbor’s yard when needed or help with chores. They are the first one to volunteer for community service. They are dependable.

A helper can also be the family member everyone depends on to fix things. They’re a mediator in family disputes or the one that holds a family together.

Helpers are easy to write. I tend to think of them in terms of a minor character—Aunt Suzy, Uncle Jim, neighbor Joe. It’s hard to envision a helper as being anything other than a good person.

But here’s a twist. Consider making “the helper” your antagonist. The person you’d least likely suspect. If you do this, don’t go overboard with the niceties. You don’t want to make them so sugary sweet that readers would automatically suspect them.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series on character types. What are some ideas you have for a helper? Please share in the comments.

53 thoughts on “Character Types: The Helper

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  3. Not sure why, but when you mentioned making a helper an antagonist, my mind went to putting two helpers in competition against one another, jealous that someone leans on the other “helper” more than them:) That could be interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Excellent stuff, Joan! I love your thought about making a helper who is the antagonist. Sometimes people who are thought to be villainous are later found out to have hearts of gold.

    I will always think of my mom as a helper. She was the type of person who others sought out when they needed someone to lend an ear.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oooh, making the “helper” the antagonist is an interesting idea, Joan. I think helpers can also be pleasers which puts a little twist on the character, especially when pleasing requires some nefarious behaviors. Or the mess that results from trying to please two people with opposite agendas. These posts are great because they inspire so many ideas. 🙂 Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you’re finding these useful, Diana. We have so many possibilities with characters. I want to “think outside the box” so to speak when creating them, always looking for the unexpected twists.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I grew up in an Italian family, so by default, there were a lot of “helpers.” It just goes with the territory, LOL.
    I’ve written a few helper characters and always find them as great secondary characters when I come across them in other books. I most often see them depicted as the best friend, or a family relative, usually an aunt or uncle or grandparent. The great thing about helper characters is they are so diverse and can appear in so many different capacities. They’re fun to write and read!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The Helper is such an easy character to write because I am that character to a degree. But I like the idea of camouflaging the antagonist by having him or her be nice to throw the reader off. Maybe I should have tried more of that with Saddled Hearts.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Wonderful explanation, Joan. The helper is a character we all love, someone familiar to our own experience. The twist — oh so sad, but in some stories, very effective. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Pingback: Character Types: The Helper | Legends of Windemere

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