This is a question for writers. When you’re planning out a story, do you define exactly what kind of antagonist or protagonist a character will be? For example, secondary protagonist or tertiary antagonist. Or do you go for more general descriptions like major character, minor villain, minor antagonist?
I have been on wikis for about five years now, but I’ve noticed a trend in the past year where people try to come up with a precise antagonist level for each character. Not so much with protagonists.
The problem is that different people can’t make up their mind about which antagonist a character should be, and a few people are deliberately contradicting themselves by changing it every time they come there. In those situations, I treat it as vandalism. Well, it could be some sort of behavioral or mental health issue like schizophrenia or being a compulsive liar, but since I’m unlikley to ever meet these people, I’ll go with the simpler answer of vandalism.
I’ve explained to a few people about how ridiculous and unrealistic it’s become. I don’t think anyone goes to a movie or reads a wiki or review about the movie and thinks, “I want to know who the secondary antagonists and the tertiary antagonists are in this movie”. Neither do they think “this character is the former 30% tritagonist”, a “neutral antagonist” or the “(former) fourth, but semi, antagonist”. And yet, that’s the kinds of descriptions are being added.
I don’t understand why people feel the need to do this, to say things like “this character is more of an antagonist than that one is” or to say “well, they used to be an antagonist, but now they’re kind of a protagonist that is a lower-level protagonist than this other character”. It’s become bad enough that I need to come up with a policy for the wikis I’m on. I have a few guidelines written but not a standardized policy.
So, writers, do you assign precise definitions to your characters about what kind of antagonist/protagonist they are, or do you go with a general description of what role they will play in your story. And if the former, is that something you also do when you watch a movie or read a story?