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Archetype Articles

A few years ago I did a series of blog posts about character archetypes, based on types presented in the book The Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes and Heroines. I use this book as a big resource when developing characters, and my copy is all tattered and dog-eared. It's also fun to use for analyzing other characters. I focus on the core archetype info and the archetype interactions section (though it seems primarily aimed at romance authors, since most of the archetype interactions are male and female instead of showing how different types of the same sex might interact). I think their examples are hit or miss (and, unless later editions have corrected it, at times just plain wrong, as in getting characters mixed up so they're using the wrong name for the character being discussed), and I ignore the career stuff because I think a lot of that veers close to stereotype. It's not WHAT they do, it's WHY they do it that's important. If you're interested in finding a copy of this book, here's the Amazon link.

This series turned out to be one of the most popular things I've done on my blog, so here are these posts, edited to make sense and compiled for easy reference. This was mostly written in the summer of 2007, and I haven't updated verb tenses for character examples from TV series that have since ended, though I have tried to correct or update when it changes something relevant.

Archetypes and Lost Souls
The Lost Soul is one of the more popular archetypes, and also one that commonly falls into stereotype. What makes this type tick?
 
Archetypes and the Best Friend
On the other hand, the Best Friend is possibly an underused type, but equally stereotyped.
 
The "What" vs. the "Why" of Archetypes
Here's how to avoid stereotypes -- focus on why characters do something, as opposed to what they do.
 
Internal vs. External Archetypes
Sometimes, characters may present a false face to the world, or other characters may see them in an inaccurate way.
 
Archetypes: Goals, Needs and Motivation
Archetypes are defined by motivations -- or really, a deep, underlying need
 
Evolving Archetypes
Sometimes the journey is so profound that a character evolves from one type to another
 
Archetypes and Gender
Why are there different types for men and women, and is this division valid?
 
Archetypes and Character Complexity
There are tricks to using archetypes to create complex characters -- and it's not about multiple archetypes
 
Layered Archetypes
But there are times when more than one archetype is needed.
 
Enchanted, Inc. Archetypes: Katie
How I developed the character of Katie Chandler (includes spoilers for Damsel Under Stress)
 
Enchanted, Inc. Archetypes: Owen
How I developed the character of Owen Palmer
 
The Archetypes of Harry Potter
Just for fun: An analysis of the cast of the Harry Potter books, up through book 6 (no Deathly Hallows spoilers)
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