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Focus character

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Focus character

The focus character is a character who serves a dramatic purpose greater than simply illustrating or illuminating the world -- a character about whom the reader cares even when he's offstage. Focus characters have distinct personalities; they further the themes and interact directly with other focus characters. In Lord of the Rings, for example, Saruman is a focus character but Sauron is not (he's a natural force). (CSFW: David Smith) (Original source: ) (e)

From Wikipedia

From Focal character at Wikipedia

In literature, a focal character is the character around whom the events of the story revolve. He is "the person on whom the spotlight focuses; the center of attention; the man whose reactions dominate the screen."[1]

This is not necessarily the same thing as the protagonist, nor is it the same as the viewpoint character. As an interesting aside, in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's works of Sherlock Holmes, Watson is the viewpoint character, but the story revolves around Holmes, making him the focal character.


  1. Swain, Dwight V. (1965). Techniques of the Selling Writer. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 320-323. ISBN 0-8061-1191-7 (paper). 

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