I didn’t anticipate I’d have so much to say about each archetype, so now I give you… Part 2.5 of 2 The Archetypes Continued Warrior/ Hero As you might imagine the warrior is a person who is good at battle and fighting. Prime examples of this in LOTR are Gimli, Legolas, Boramir, and more. They are expert fighters, (and if you watch the movies…beyond reason when fighting the Warg). Eowyn, “I am no man!” But if you think outside the normal boring box, you might also consider characters like Eowyn. She fought in the end and defeated the Witch-King of Angmar, speaking the best line ever written!
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...
How do you begin a story? Not in the sense of create, but where do you start? I was always told to start in Media Res. Latin for in the middle of things. There are countless ways to start a story. I'm going to talk about a few ways to start, but this is by all means not exhaustive. When I'm wanting to strengthen a skill, I look to mentor texts. So let us take a look at some excellent stories and see how they begin.
"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?
Here is a Free Character Sheet for writers.
Dan Wells is also on Writing Excuses with Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Howard Taylor. This is the second book I've read by Dan Wells. The first one I read a few years ago is called Partials. It was a good story centered around a brilliant idea, but it got a little too teenager … Continue reading I am Not a Serial Killer
My first review simply must be a YA book by my favorite author, Brandon Sanderson. I have listened to a podcast by Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Mary Robinnett Kowal, and Howard Taylor for the last 6 years or so. The podcast is called Writing Excuses and is about the craft of writing … Continue reading Steelheart