First, the definition of Archetype: a very typical example of a certain person or thing. (Oxford Dictionary) It derives from the Greek prefix, arcke, which means primitive and the root, topos, which means a model. So ‘a primitive model.’ So it is like the rough sketch of a character. Archetype sounds a lot like stereotype and I think the two words often get confused, so many think an archetype is a bad thing. The stereotype definition is: a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing. (Oxford Dictionary) The definitions are very similar, but the difference is the oversimplification and generalization. Plus, stereotypes are often offensive or demeaning in nature. For example, all boys love sports and girls love dolls. Today people love to stereotype millennials as spoiled, whiny, entitled brats. The good news is that it seems many writers love to turn stereotypes on their heads and push people out of those preconceived notions. As writers, we have immense power to influence how people think and what to highlight about our society. “With great power comes great responsibility” (Uncle Ben, Spiderman) So choose wisely what and how you write. Done right, an archetype is a good starting place. The problem comes when a writer doesn’t add layers. Those layers of personality add depth and prevent the oversimplification of the character. Read more...
"I imagined the broken rocks as the broken bodies of my enemies, the bones shattered, their trembling arms reaching upward in a useless gesture of total and complete defeat. I was a very odd little girl."
As explored last week, characters are the heart of our stories. We gravitate toward like minded people, even fictional ones. Some of my best friends, the ones who get me, who think like me, who yearn like me, are fictional characters. Think of Anne of Green Gables. Who hasn't made mistakes before? We promise to not make mistakes again, only to turn right around and make an even bigger mistake! Who hasn't had a Mrs. Blewett in her life, or contrastingly, a Matthew Cuthbert?
I hope you are all well! This week has been madness! As you know I'm a 6th grade English teacher. My school was on spring break. It got extended this week, but teachers were required to work from home. Wednesday we started to get information. Thursday we began frantically redesigning our lesson to go online … Continue reading Characters Through the Ages (Well, through 70 Years)