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Everything You Need To Know About Character Archetypes

All About Character Archetypes

One of the most-searched Google terms leading writers to B2W is ‘stereotypes versus archetypes’. These two terms are mixed up so often … ESPECIALLY in film reviews by clueless critics, grrr. So it’s no wonder writers have trouble keeping track of them as well.

Stereotypes relate to ‘the simplification of an idea or person’ (hint: that’s usually bad! Though not unless it’s on purpose … ie. for comedic effect).  However, archetypes are a GREAT place to start with our own characters. After all, we can’t subvert characters and twist them, without knowing what has gone before!

This is why this great infographic and accompanying article is SO useful.  It breaks down how archetypes are basically the ‘mould’ for characters of their kind, then giving classic examples of these types of characters. These character examples immediately help, because these characters have entered the cultural consciousness. Even if we’ve never seen or read the story, we still have an idea of what the character is like.

From there, we can think about our own characters and how they relate to archetypes. For example …

  • Heroes and rebels were most often male, but now we’re seeing more and more female ones.
  • Both care-giver and innocent characters are nearly always female. What if ours was male instead?
  • Sages and Magicians are nearly always Black or Asian.
  • Villains are often queer-coded, or disabled.

What if they weren’t? How would this inform the story? What opportunities could this present? And that’s just for starters!

So make sure you check out the infographic after the jump, not to mention the STACK of handy links to other info on this site about this subject. Best of luck with your writing!

More Links On Archetypes And Characterisation:

12 Character Archetypes & How To Use Them

How To Avoid Stereotypes When Writing Diverse Characters

Why Strength Is The Missing Ingredient In Female Leads

How To Write An Awesome Lone Wolf Character

How To Ue Girl Power In Your Story

6 Things Every Hero Needs

6 Stock Characters That Need Retiring By Writers NOW

5 Secondary Characters Who Teach The Protagonist

5 Modern Kickass Hotties Who Are Actually GREAT Characters

Kicking Arcs: Action Hero Journeys 

4 Female Secondary Characters Who Deserve Their Own Movie

3 Questions For Your Male Action Hero Characters

The 1 Gender Swap That Could Make All The Difference In Your Story

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