Archetypes

Stereotypes exist for a reason. To some degree (exaggerated or otherwise), we constantly see similar behavior patterns permeating every culture. In the world of writing, this is explored through common archetypes.

Archetype: In literature, an archetype is a typical character, an action, or a situation that seems to represent universal patterns of human nature. <literarydevices.net>

We learn to recognize these models early on in life and then continue to perpetuate them. To be fair, and I repeat–stereotypes exist for a reason. They really are inevitable. So if everyone we encounter and every book we read is full of the same models–the egghead, the artist, the jock, the bully–then why bother?

brown onion on brown wood plate
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Because people, characters, archetypes are like onions: they have layers. (Thank you Shrek 😉 ) We want to peel back each layer to find the heart at the center. We want to see that the reclusive egghead is actually confident, the bully is as smart as the egghead, the jock is thoughtful, and the flamboyant artist holds all the cards. All great characters like all great people are multifaceted; this is the journey we love to take time and time again. And in discovering others, we discover ourselves.

Now ask yourself:

What archetype are you? What archetype does everyone else see? Are they wrong? How will you show them the truth?

And that, is how you have a story.

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