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, let me know. I would love to help.
"Writing is the flow of life through words on a page. We all have this talent to share." Luca DiMatteo
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