1. D-Doc
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    D-Doc Active Member

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    What is the best list of character archetypes?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by D-Doc, Sep 12, 2011.

    I have seen some that are very brief and others with too much detail or variations of the same basic archetypes. Could someone link me to a good list of archetypes? If there is something that is generally accepted as the standard that would be appreciated.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    First, there is no standard, and offsite links are discouraged. Use google if you are that interested.

    Second, why would you even want such a thing? If you view characters as archetypes, that is how you will write them, and they will be flat.
     
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  3. D-Doc
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    D-Doc Active Member

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    I have used google already. I wanted a list to see how I would classify many well known characters and also to see where some characters of my own might fall. And just for the hell of it too. I have no intention of writing characters according only to known archetypes. I try to find dominant personality traits or behaviors from people in real life or literature then I model characters after them, although with my own twist.

    Regardless of how I write I think learning more about archetypes would help me more that hurt me. Like I said it doesn't mean I have to write according to that structure. If anything it could help me avoid cliches.
     
  4. TobiasJames
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    TobiasJames Contributing Member

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    In the fantasy genre, you have such fine examples as...

    - Chivalrous knight
    - Power-hungry wizard
    - Rebellious princess
    - Kitchen boy with a rare magic power

    Be warned, however, if you write a story with those characters, your readers may seek you out and lynch you.
     
  5. JohnKPatterson
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    JohnKPatterson Member

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    Building off of Tobias' list, a few of the more recent trends in fantasy would include:

    -Feisty warrior woman
    -Corrupt or ignorant king
    -A villain who is villainous because he is insane
    -Vegetarian elves
    -Romance between a human and a paranormal creature
    -Lovable thieves or con-men in the same vein as Jack Sparrow
    -A community of mystical pacifists and intellectuals who look down on others (known in real life as San Francisco)

    Your readers might be very willing to accept these, if you can subvert them and twist them around enough so they don't feel like what every other fantasist is doing in today's publishing world.
     
  6. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I was having a laugh at tvtropes.org last night (characters)--'adaptional badass' 'non-action guy' etc. I know the dress and personality types are stereotypes, but browsing it can sometimes spin you off into something more original.
     
  7. D-Doc
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    D-Doc Active Member

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    That website is bad ass and funny too. I ended up watching clips of the Jungle Book on youtube because of it ha ha.
     
  8. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why would you need one? I don't mean to be rude, but your characters aren't archetypes. They're exactly that - characters. Thinking of them as stereotypes without their own personalities will make them flat and boring. You won't enjoy writing them, and I can pretty much guarantee that your readers won't enjoy reading them. They are individuals first and foremost.
     
  9. D-Doc
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    D-Doc Active Member

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    You didn't read my second post did you?
     
  10. Bodhisattva
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    Bodhisattva Member

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    A word of warning: it isn't a good thing if your characters fit into established archetypes. Broad ones like, say, 'badass' are all right but specific ones like 'farm boy with magic powers' or 'absolutely evil emperor' ain't so good. That way lies madness *COUGH*ERAGON*COUGH*.

    I know you aren't basing your characters off archetypes. However if you find too many of them fitting into moulds, it may be best to tweak them a little so they become more original.
     
  11. D-Doc
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    D-Doc Active Member

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    I agree. That is part of the reason why I was interested in looking at a list in the first place. To be honest I think just looking at a list like that is interesting as it is. I was reading that site tvtropes for a while today just for the hell of it. It's fun.
     
  12. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    You know tvtropes is probably your best source of such things anyway. I've always found it a great resource for things such as that. :)
     

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