Our Inner Archetypes
Guest Post by Danielle Thorne
I was never as fascinated with archetypes as when I picked up Tami Cowden’s Heroes and Heroines. Wow, a whole encyclopedia of male and female personalities. The only problem was, I wasn’t focusing on the character examples used in literature and film, I was thinking about myself and the people around me.
Oh no. I was a ”Librarian.” A dull, down to earth, nose-in-the-book female, with a primal need to be swept off my feet by some bad boy. Oh! There was my best friend. She was defiantly a ”Spunky Kid.” There wasn’t getting anything by that girl. Yep, my dear husband fit right into the ”Best Friend” category. Wait a minute. Wasn’t this book supposed to enrich my writing?
I reconsidered the heroes in my work. There was definitely a pattern. As a ”Librarian” archetype, I was drawn to certain kinds of hero archetypes, much like a librarian character would be. Even when I created a different heroine archetype than the category I fell into, I was pairing her off with heroes that appealed to me. Was I forcing men on my poor helpless heroines?
Thinking about heroes and heroines is more important than we realize. It should be done well before we start putting together a new manuscript. It’s one thing to lay out a plot, but to head into the unknown with only a mental image and some backstory on our characters, is really wasting time and watering down the potential of our story’s electricity.
Consider Scarlett and Rhett. Would there have even been a Gone with the Wind if Rhett Butler in his ”Bad Boy” way hadn’t been riveted to that saucy Southern ”Seductress?” And what about Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight? I’ll go out on a limb and say every girl’s favorite vampire is a ”Lost Soul.” Would a ”Bad Boy” have appealed to our spunky waif, Bella? Probably not.
I took another step in my author growth by spending time studying archetypes. Realizing who I am as a writer has given me an awareness to write not only more specifically, but to branch out into other personalities. So know your stuff when it comes to bad boys, best friends and those alpha males. Break out of your own archetype and discover where you are coming from. Give yourself permission to create characters you never knew you had in you.
Danielle Thorne is the author of several contemporary and historical romances. She is a former editor with Solstice and Desert Breeze Publishing, and the blogger behind The Balanced Writer (http//wwwthebalancedwriter.blogspot.com). Danielle currently lives south of Atlanta, Georgia, freelancing as a copywriter and writing fiction.
Athena Gray lives vicariously through her sister because people in general avoid her. Whether it’s strange things like dead butterflies fluttering to life, or the time she saved her dying grandpa just by willing him to live, Athena knows that she is different. The only person who doesn’t seem to think so is Dan, the most popular boy on Omega High School’s baseball team.