Amy Palmer

Of writing, reading and creating

Archetypes – The Struggling Artist

Time for this month’s WriYe Blogging Circle post. All about archetypes (with a title about the one I feel I’m most likely to be classed as 😉 ). This month’s questions are:

Can you pinpoint your current main character’s archetypes? How do you feel about the concept of archetypes? Do you think your character is a blend of a few or one steadily – or unique in their own right?

Archetypes are an interesting concept. I’ve been unable to find a clear, concise list of archetypes, but they seem to be a character ‘type’, basically. So I hope I’m on point with what I’m talking about here. As an idea, I find them interesting, if a little redundant. While it’s interesting to put characters into boxes like this, it doesn’t strike me as a particularly useful practice. It gives me, as a writer, an idea of the characters that I tend to write, certainly. But it looses a lot of the nuance that we put into characters. I’ll admit, it seems like over simplifying to me.

That said, I will be the first to admit that I have a very clear type of character that I enjoy writing. I am a huge sucker for the thief with a heart of gold. The Robin Hood character. Characters who do legally or morally grey-area or even outright wrong things, but do them for understandable, human reasons. One of the clearest examples I have of this is the (currently unnamed) spaceship Captain in my sci-fi series, Cicada. She works on the wrong side of the (mostly, but not entirely unfair) law, doing her best to keep herself and her crew alive, her ship in the air, and enough coin in the purses of those who need it.

Right now, however, I’m not writing Cicada. I’m writing Spirited Prey, a story about shapeshifters. The main characters of that series are fathers, Tristan and Reid.  I’d say the main archetype they both meet is the ‘unwilling hero’. But that’s not all they are. They also fit the ‘parent’ or ‘protector” archetype that I’ve seen mentioned in a couple of places. From what I’ve seen, most characters (or well rounded characters) are a blend of these character types. They’re more than just one thing.

So, there’s my whistle stop tour of archetypes, my take on them and their uses, and a quick insight into a few of my characters. What do you think?

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