This article was originally published in The Writer’s Everything, Issue #007.
The Purpose Of Writing Concepts
Every week, published in my writing magazine, The Writer’s Everything, Writing Concepts will discuss a major piece of knowledge that authors would do well to be aware of.
This week, the topic of Writing Concepts is “Character Archetypes.”
A character archetype is a typical character that appears over and over in literature, plays, television, and film. Character archetypes represent universal patterns of human nature.
As writers, character archetypes provide us with a method to understand our characters better, and to depict them accurately and authentically. They allow us to identify what motivates our characters, and to flesh out how they would react in any given situation.
There are many different lists created by absolute geniuses in the fields of psychology which detail alternate versions of the character archetypes. Some of these lists contain eight different archetypes. Some of them contain twelve. Some of them contain a hundred.
It’s not necessary to memorize all of the character archetypes that have been identified in these lists. Rather, the intention of these lists is to help give us as writers the resources we need to identify our characters, their habits, traits, and most probable courses of action.
One common character archetype is the mentor. A mentor provides the main character of a hero’s journey with the information that they need to complete their quest. Often, a mentor will sacrifice themselves so that the hero can go on living, and, on the technical side of things, so that they have room to grow within the framework of the story. Well-known mentors include Obi-Wan Kenobi, Morpheus, Gandalf, and Albus Dumbledore.
The Writer’s Everything
This article, as well as many others, have been featured in previous issues of my writing journal, The Writer’s Everything, in which I, along with occasional guest contributors, provide essays, guides, encouragement, motivation, writing prompts, character bio development kits, and anything else that can help you turn your dream of becoming a writer into a reality.
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