Naturally, as a writer, English has always been my favorite class. (Although my last English class was horrible because it was all essay writing that I'd already done in high school.) Generally, though, I love English. I like to read the books they assign us, I like to learn Latin roots, I'm decent at grammar, and the teachers always like me. But one of my favorite topics in English class is archetypes.
Archetypes are all about the similarities between human stories. We humans have sort of a shared consciousness. The same themes appear in our art repeatedly simply because we've got that huge backstory, the deeper truth that connects us to each other. Character archetypes in particular are familiar to most media consumers. These are the roles that characters play within a story.
Here are some common character archetypes for you to check out:
This is related to the antihero, where a character must overcome their ego before succeeding at heroism and fame and all of that. Then they can protect others and fight evil as they were always meant to do.
Quinn from #ChosenFourStory and Bodhi from #ProphecyStory are examples from my own works.
The orphan moves through pain and loss into accepting help and then finding independence. Often you'll see orphaned characters also moving on to heroism, especially in children's literature.
An example from my works is Augusta from #IceEnchantressStory.
This is pretty much every blind soothsayer or old wizard in the history of storytelling. They're the teacher, the prophet, the knowledgeable one who is often ignored or considered foolish. I love working with sages.
From my books, there's the Keeper from #ProphecyStory and perhaps Ms. Fwump from #ChosenFourStory.
The innocent is the character who, in their quest for paradise has a fall, but retains their belief and comes to the final goal with more wisdom and yet a pure and uncorrupted view of life that aligns with their previous ideals. The innocent may play a side role where they require protection from and provide inspiration to others.
In my books, this could be Leia from #PsychicStory.
This is a good leader of the people who could be representative of God, even, not the kind of leader whom you have to overthrow. This kind of ruler is powerful and decent and fair.
This kind of ruler I don't usually write, actually.
This is where we get into the evil ruler. See, every archetype has its own shadow type, the bad version of itself. These are the characters you see as villains and traitors. You even have a shadow type--think of the bad traits you carry, the extremes of your personality, and that would be your shadow.
Examples from my books would include the Shaid from #ProphecyStory, Laurence from #ChosenFourStory, and Serisk from #IceEnchantressStory, among many others.
This is probably my favorite. Also known in the Jungian world as the anima/animus, this is a pair of characters who are basically each other in an opposite sex form. Many great relationships work off of this principle of soul partners. (Animus actually means soul in Latin.)
You can see this with a lot of my couples, but the main one that I actively used this archetype with was Hunter and Cassie in #ChosenFourStory.
Foils is another pair archetype and a literary device. This is the set of characters that are placed together to contrast each other. They're fun to work with. You can see this with traditional hero vs the antihero, or between two types of innocents, or whatever.
In my books, I suppose this could be Bodhi and Jedrek from #ProphecyStory or Alex and Carter in #AfterworldStory. You can almost always find at least one set of these in a story.
Now for the news of the day! I have finally chosen to start working on #ProphecyStory with the intent of making it my next querying project. That means lots of editing and then writing me some query letter. I cannot even describe how nervous this is making me, which is not like me at all. But I will push forward. I mean, eventually I've got to hit the right note with the publishers, right? I have also subscribed to thirteen or so blogs by professionals on the subject, so hopefully things will make more sense to me soon, LOL.
So thanks, all of you, for reading!
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Images via Marvel, content.time.com, the-hunger-games-fanpedia.fandom.com, narnia.wikia.com, starwars.wikia.com, comicartcommunity.com, and villains.wikia.com.
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