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.
We all dream of being able to write a book, blog or how about a play? Life is always getting in the way.
“I have too much work to do, the kids need to be driven to practice, I’m too tired, or I just don’t know what to write about.”
What transpires next is a recount of the process of writing my first novel. It’s meant as a helpful tool. There are specific guidelines to use as a new author or even a seasoned one. I’ll cover just some of the basic lessons I’ve learned.
First, a bit of background on me you may want to know. I was a podiatrist, I am an energy healer, and I have been and always will be an author. You may be asking why this is important. Well, while I was doing all the things in my life to function, I constantly heard the call to write. Like almost everyone else, I had a billion things that needed to be checked off before I could write. So I thought. My wife, Laura, reminds people (and me) that the universe always gives you what you ask for. It may not look the way you asked for it, but you will get it. If you don’t see it at first, the universe will tap you on the shoulder to show it to you again. If you still don’t see it, then the universe may hit you with a bat to make you see it. I received the bat. The details are not the point here. If you feel the urge to write then make the time. It’s important.
First Lesson: How to make the time.
I suggest setting a writing schedule. Most of us have a smartphone with a calendar where we can mark out certain days and times to write. If you are serious about becoming a writer, then treat it like the career you love. Make time for it. Make the appointment to write.
Second Lesion: Write about what you know.
Stay in your wheelhouse. A doctor might write a novel about a medical situation. A policeman might write a story about a criminal on the loose. You get the idea. It is much more difficult to write outside of your knowledge. It can be done, but it will take a great deal more time and work to learn what you’re writing about. If you’re a first-time novelist, I not suggesting this path.
Third Lesson: Create a loose skeleton of the characters, the plot and the ending.
I use the words “loose skeleton” so you can allow yourself to change the story at it grows. BE FLEXIBLE. You may want to write small chapter outlines to help. One of the most important aspects for me was separately creating a backstory on every character. The more detailed the backstory, the more depth your characters will have. This will make them more lifelike and more believable. A great way to do this is to carry a pocket-sized notebook or use your smartphone to take notes on interesting people you meet during the day. You can combine attributes from different people to create a multi-dimensional character. The development of characters and plots is explained well in Christopher Vogler's "The Writer's Journey." (third edition). The link is to a pdf. I suggest purchasing the book.
Fourth Lesson: Do the research
Just because you’re staying in your wheelhouse doesn’t mean you know everything about what you’re writing about. You want your characters to be plausible and your situations to be realistic unless you’re intentionally writing a novel that way. Writing does entail research. Readers generally like to learn something new. If your story is to be believable, it has to be based on some fact. You can be creative and extend the truth or bend it, but you have to know what you are extending or bending. Take the time to find out.
Fifth Lesson: Keep your own style
Writing is an extension of who you are. It’s not mimicking famous authors or being something other than you. Keeping true to your style will keep you writing and make the words flow much more natural. What does all this mean? It means that writing is a unique process that each person develops to match their thinking and even speaking. Those readers who enjoy what you write will follow you because they like your work and your style of writing. Changing your style from one body of work to another can be as detrimental as changing in mid-novel. Writing, not from a grammatical standpoint, but from a stylistic point is personal and helps you in getting the reader into the world your depicting.
I hope sharing these lessons that I have learned, and am still refining in my writing career, are helpful to you. Writing is a process. Be enthusiastic and confident but don’t be arrogant. It will show in your writing. I would love to hear your questions and comments.
"In a world of video games, fake new and never-ending scandals we need to find a release."
Words are a doorway to worlds that we can only imagine. We are built to express ourselves; whether it's through music, art or written word, it's the way we create, the way we share our talents.
Our brains have two hemispheres, the right for logic and the left for creativity. We cannot function with only one or the other, so why try? I ask you to embrace the logical side when it's needed and let the creative side free when the urge calls.
We all have words rumbling around in our minds just waiting to be expressed in one way or another. Take the chance and let them out. A tiny bit of courage can lead to an endless possibilities.
For many years, I was living in a right-brained world. I was uncertain about my creativity and how to share it - until it burst out of me! Now, writing is my passion. It's why I get up every morning. It's what I dream about at night. Written words manifest into people, places, and ideas to take us on a fantastic journey where entire worlds emerge to be shared with others.
I find it new and exciting to see what fellow writers have penned to share with us. Their sentences form endless chapters of imagination. Whether you're writing a poem, short story, or novel, you are unleashing a creative adventure. Be brave. Write often. Share widely.