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Using Archetypes to Create Characters

Cheryl's Musings: Using Archetypes to Create Characters

Cheryl's Musings

How to Thrive on the Writer's Road


Using Archetypes to Create Characters

It’s been on my list for a while to write a post about character archetypes and how they can inspire your writing…

Writer’s Block

…but Mark Nichol over at DailyWritingTips has such a comprehensive post about character archetypes—including the use of horoscope signs, Jungian psychology, Shakespeare characters, and the “personality enneagram” for character inspiration that instead of writing my own post, I’m going to point you over there.

Here’s a taste:

In essence, any literary character is drawn from one or more archetypes. An archetype is basically the pattern for a character, associated with a trait or a concept. Archetypes are most easily recognized in genre fiction — science fiction, fantasy, horror, thriller — but they are applicable to any fiction, whether of high or low literary aspiration. The key is to select one or more archetypes as just the first step in character building.

But there are many types of archetypes from various belief systems and other sources. Try, for example, associating a character with one of the figures from the Chinese zodiac — boar, dog, dragon, horse, goat, monkey, ox, rabbit, rat, rooster, snake, and tiger — each of which is endowed with a complex array of both positive and negative traits….

See? Don’t you have to go read the rest?


:-) Cheryl

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At April 29, 2011 at 9:55 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

Heading over to read this... thanks for posting it!

At April 29, 2011 at 10:08 AM , Blogger Cheryl Reif said...

My pleasure! Thanks for letting me know :)

At April 30, 2011 at 4:12 PM , Blogger Jacqvern said...

Hi :) Interesting article, thank you for posting it.

Before heading here I was reading an article by Gene Lempp, about archaeology and how it can generate ideas for stories and characters.

You might want to see it

Thank you again :)

At May 2, 2011 at 7:01 PM , Blogger Cheryl Reif said...

Hi Jacqcvern--cool! I'll go check it out. So glad you enjoyed this article :)


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