Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Wednesday Writers Tips - Archetypes

I've found this book very helpful when I want to create characters that will play off each other.

The Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes & Heroines - Sixteen Master Archetypes by Tami D. Cowden, Caro LaFever, Sue Viders.

It starts with Section I, a list of Hero Archetypes: The Chief, The Bad Boy, The Best Friend, The Charmer, The Lost Soul, The Professor, The Swashbuckler, and The Warrior.

Then Section II, a list of Heroine Archetypes: The Boss, The Seductress, The Spunky Kid,
The Free Spirit, The Waif, The Librarian, The Crusader, The Nurturer.

Each archetype is explained, listing his/her qualities, virtues, flaws, background, and occupations. Sidebars on each page give examples of well-known movie heroes/heroines and other characters in literature both historic and modern.

Section III takes you through Using Archetypes to Create Characters and Section IV covers Archetype Interactions. This thorough chapter shows how a hero of one archetype reacts with a heroine of another archetype, giving you seemingly endless combinations where you can find the spark that could start your next Best Seller!

This quote, or writers tip, is from Section IV, Archetype Interactions.

Perfection is not only unattainable; it makes for a boring story -- and boring characters. During the course of a story, heroes and heroines not only encounter external obstacles, they have to deal with an internal conflict. On their journey, they must overcome some aspect of their personalities in order to survive and win the day.
During the discussion of the archetypes, it was noted that each one, male and female, has its own inherent flaws. By keeping these inherent flaws in mind while creating new characters, a writer can more easily produce meaningful and appropriate emotional hurdles for the heroes and heroines to overcome. Whether the writer uses a core archetype, an evolving archetype or a layered one [all explained in another chapter], the intrinsic failings of each archetype are the basic building blocks of plot. 

I wasn't sure if my current H&h are The Bad Boy and The Crusader, or The Lost Soul and The Librarian. But when I read The Bad Boy and The Librarian, I knew it was them. This book helped explain what I'd already felt about my characters, and now will help me "flesh them out".

Heroes & Heroines

See more Writers How To Books on my bookshelf.

1 comment:

  1. I want to add: you can mix up the archetypes. In my example above of the BAD BOY and the LIBRARIAN, you can switch them to the BAD GIRL and the LIBRARIAN hero. In fact, I've read two very good romances with these archetypes. Part of what made them so good was the unexpected archetypes and their interaction.