WORDS OPEN OUR WORLDS
Character Archetypes. Creating Depth feb. 2019
Whether you’re writing a novel, short story, screenplay, or just about anything creative, the characters will portray some type or types of traits. These are called Archetypes. If you’re having trouble developing your characters, I suggest looking at the people you have engaged with during your life. The workplace is an excellent spot to start.
To save time, I have come up with seven modern-day archetypes to help pinpoint people you might know. Most of my characters wear multiple archetypes that can change as the story goes on. This is important, as every character must show relatability and transition. Relatability is pretty straightforward; the character has to create a real bond with the reader. The transition can take a few directions. Most characters may go through a regressive transition and then move forward. Some characters begin severely flawed and transition back and forth a few times. Whatever approach you choose for your characters, the important thing to stay extremely aware of what you are doing. It has to make sense.
The archetypes here are not presented in any specific order. See if you can connect each one to someone you know.
The Leader: Intuition guides this person to naturally take charge. They don’t sit around waiting for a solution, they create solutions with thought and care that benefit a situation or others.
The Hinderer: This individual questions others on just about everything. Rarely give useful information and is always looking for a way to make themselves look better.
The Pleaser: A person who signs up for everything. They are willing to help, no matter the personal cost. May have a tendency to over execute tasks.
The Follower: This is the good worker bee. Takes no risks, needs direction, and will not step up to lead even the simplest tasks.
The Sacrificer: Boundaries don’t exist for this person. This one doesn’t care about rules or casualties. The result is the most important.
The Independent: This is the loner who struggles to play with others. Good at making choices, but doesn’t necessarily see the consequences.
The Visionary: A person who sees the bigger dream, the long-range goal. This person may take longer to contemplate and action to see how it might affect the future.
Most characters share parts of any of these archetypes. I’m sure you could come up with a few more. I have found these seven archetypes are a good starting point.
I hope this was helpful for you as you're developing your characters. Please let me know your thoughts and if you were able to match actual people to these archetypes. If you need help in developing depth for your characters, please contact me. I would love to help.
Excerpts From My Desk
I hope you enjoy these snippets of my novels:
From: Binding Oath Chapter 20
Oscar was sitting at his desk wanting to call Marissa. This is her mess, he thought. She called me and wanted to come over. We didn’t do anything. Could that be a problem too? He looked at the papers on the desk then he turned to look at the phone, hoping it would ring.
Marissa Oliver, MD how stupid could you be? He’s your employer. Marissa was driving to work. Would he be there? After all, he did own the place. She turned into a coffee shop parking lot and sat there with her phone in her hand. She needed to handle this on the phone, not in person. She didn’t want to talk to Oscar where others who knew them could hear. She picked up the phone then threw it down on the seat next to her only to start another round of chastising herself. After ten more minutes of flogging, she was ready to make the call.
She dialed Oscar’s number. He picked up on the first ring. She hesitated then said, “Hello,” in the most secure sounding voice she could muster.
“Hello, I wasn’t expecting you to call.”
“Oscar, can we stop this game?” Marissa pushed her hair out of her eyes.
“Yes, I’m tired of it too. Look, I like you and I didn’t want last night to go as it did.” Oscar’s palms were wet from the fear of virtually standing naked in front of her now. He had spoken his real feeling.
“It was not my intention either. Well, to be honest…” The car’s Bluetooth engaged and Oscar missed the rest of what she said.
“Hello, Marissa are you there?” Oscar was at full fear alert now. Why did she hang up mid-sentence?
“Oscar, I’m still here. The damn Bluetooth. I was saying that I wanted to see you. I had some bourbon after work that gave me the courage to be stupid.
Here is an excellent new author I recently had the pleasure of meeting. If you're a new author and want to be added to this list please contact me.
Author: Sandra A. Miller
Book title: Trove
Book type: Memoir
Availability: Sept 19, 2019 through BrownPaperPress.com, SandraAMiller.com and many independent bookstores
I asked Sandra to give us a tiny peak at Trove:
TROVE: A Woman's Search for Truth and Buried Treasure
TROVE is a memoir about a woman who becomes fixated on finding a chest of gold coins buried in New York City. In her mid-forties at the time, she is also mired in the process of helping her ailing mother to die, her teenage children to fly, and her marriage to survive a beating it had taken because of her restless heart. Soon enough she realizes she’s not just hunting for a treasure chest. She needs to discover a different kind of riches. After five decades of fleeing family secrets, she is determined to find the pieces of her heart that she once buried out of protection.
Sandra was kind enough to share a little about herself with us:
In my childhood I began collecting found things—coins, buttons, scraps with words, broken jewelry—which I stored in a box that I called my trove. I believed those small treasures were actually auspicious signs—a confirmation that I was following my path and guided by something that would take me beyond the factory town where I grew up. I dreamed that my life could be a great adventure.
Even as an adult who lived around the world, I continued to collect discarded things as if they were clues that would help unlock the questions asked by a lifetime of longing, of searching, of trying to find the treasure buried somewhere in my own life. My memoir, which weaves interconnected storylines of childhood, marriage, motherhood, and an actual Brooklyn treasure hunt for a chest of gold coins is really the story of a personal quest and the twisted journey of the heart. My hope is that it speaks with universal resonance to the very human act of searching for our truest selves.
Trove will be available soon. Put this treasure on your must read list.
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Perhaps you have an idea for a book, article or blog and need some help getting started, or you're stuck, get in touch with me. I would love to help or share what I have learned. If you're interested in having me lecture please let me know.