Archetypes. I never realized how useful and important they are. Not all archetypes – there are many – but these seven are important for writers:
Perhaps it’s better to call them masks that characters wear. One character can wear many different masks in a story.
Take any good story, take any good movie or television show, can you find these seven archetypes?
They are important for the dramatic function they add to a story
- The herald announces the story and tells the other characters (and the readers) why this story is important.
- The hero, some say, is made up of all these archetypes. The hero in a story is the character who changes the most.
- The shadow is the other side of the force, the evil person (who considers himself or herself as a hero)
- The mentor is a mask that people identify with, Obi Wan, Glenda, the good witch.
- The trickster adds humor and cuts down people with bloated egos.
- A shapeshifter brings a lot of tension into a story. What will he be like tomorrow?
- Threshold guardians provide another challenge for the hero. He or she has to overcome them or absorb their power.
For added depth to your story, for characters that are not stereotypes, consider adding these archetypes.