Using Archetypes to Create Characters

Writers BlockIt’s been on my list for a while to write a post about character archetypes and how they can inspire your writing…


…but Mark Nichol over at DailyWritingTips has such a comprehensive post about character archetypes—including the use of horoscope signs, Jungian psychology, Shakespeare characters, and the “personality enneagram” for character inspiration that instead of writing my own post, I’m going to point you over there.

Here’s a taste:

In essence, any literary character is drawn from one or more archetypes. An archetype is basically the pattern for a character, associated with a trait or a concept. Archetypes are most easily recognized in genre fiction — science fiction, fantasy, horror, thriller — but they are applicable to any fiction, whether of high or low literary aspiration. The key is to select one or more archetypes as just the first step in character building.

But there are many types of archetypes from various belief systems and other sources. Try, for example, associating a character with one of the figures from the Chinese zodiac — boar, dog, dragon, horse, goat, monkey, ox, rabbit, rat, rooster, snake, and tiger — each of which is endowed with a complex array of both positive and negative traits….

See? Don’t you have to go read the rest?


:-) Cheryl

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  1. Charissa Weaks says

    Heading over to read this… thanks for posting it!

  2. Cheryl Reif says

    My pleasure! Thanks for letting me know :)

  3. Cheryl Reif says

    Hi Jacqcvern–cool! I'll go check it out. So glad you enjoyed this article :)