Welcome to The Character Depot and my version of the A-Z Blogging Challenge.
In keeping with the theme of this blog, I’ll be posting a little something each day to do with characters. It won’t be blah, blah, blah, boring stuff (I hope), but snippets of information to help with moulding unique characters. I’ll also add a few links connected to the subject of the day.
Aside from that, I’ll be posting pictures of a Jamaica food item and/or a word taken from the local language (Patois).
Here’s to 26 days of sustained blogging and new connections!
Today's topic is Archetypes.
Whether we know it or not, we build our characters based on certain personality traits, patterns or archetypes. These recognized ‘original models’ or ‘prototypes’ were defined by renowned Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung as being familiar to all of us based on our experiences. If I say Alpha Male or Alpha Female, you’ll know that I’m referring to aggressive, powerful, and driven individuals.
From these originals, a host of other models have developed. The danger we face as writers is that if we’re not careful we run the risk of creating the same leading character each time. He may be the Alpha male mentioned above, who takes charge of every situation and fixes everybody’s problems, or the scapegoat, responsible for everything that goes wrong, or possibly the helpless woman or wily vixen.
In storytelling, the main archetypes are characters, situations and symbols that we use as plot lines and storytelling aids. Take a look at the sample below.
Characters – evil persona, hero, innocent, mother figure, outcast, scapegoat, shrew, teacher/mentor, temptress, thwarted lovers, trickster, underdog, villain
Situations/Story Lines – a task/trial, fall from grace, journey and/or quest, coming of age/loss of innocence
Symbols – animals, bodies of water, caves, colours, darkness, dreams, flowers, gardens/forests/trees, islands, light, mountains, seasons, tunnels, valleys, weather.
I’ve read a time or three that there are no original stories left to tell, and the Bible confirms that there is nothing new under the sun, yet writers continue to amaze me by putting their own interpretation to old scenarios.
How you do craft your stories to avoid easily recognizable archetypes?
Useful links re: archetypes:-
A Gallery of Archetypes
Northrop Frye's Theory of Archetypes
Understanding Literary Archetypes
Quiz – Which Literary Archetype are you?
Today's food item is the Ackee, which is a fruit. It grows on trees and is poisonous if you don't know how to prepare it properly. When cooked and served with codfish (or saltfish as Jamaicans call it) it's our National Dish - Ackee & Saltfish.