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Using archetypes: Editor's Notes #189
July 01, 2015
Hello,

Books are lifelong friends whom we come to love and know as we do our children.
--S.L. Boardman


In this issue:

1. Using archetypes
2. Tickled my funnybone
3. Interesting Web site

1. Using archetypes
Understanding and using archetypes takes your writing to new heights.

Archetypes are characters with qualities an audience recognizes. There are many archetypes. I am giving you one example below. You can find many lists of archetypes on various Internet sites.

Archetypes help both fiction and non-fiction writers. When you understand archetypes and how they work, you have more control over your creation and recognition of characters. And because your readers recognize archetypes, when they see one, they immediately know how to "read" a specific character. Interestingly, using archetypes well helps you to create truly unique characters even though your characters are based on something so traditional and deeply ingrained.

Consider the example of the archetype of the best friend. The best friend is generally a calm person well-liked by others. The best friend lets the hero take the lead. The best friend does not assert the self the way the hero does, and sometimes this causes the best friend pain because the prize seems beyond reach. In spite of this, the best friend invariably has a hidden talent that is seen as valuable in society. Ron in the Harry Potter series, Diana Barry in Anne of Green Gables, and Samwise Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings series are best friends.

When you write fiction, you can either start with the idea of archetypical characters, or you can simply plunge in and see where the story takes you. Either way, at some point, look at your main characters with an eye to how each reveals an archetype. What about the archetype can you add to your character?

When you write non-fiction, watch for archetypes. Understanding who is playing which role in a situation helps you decide what to include or highlight or what to leave out or to gloss over.

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2.Tickled my funnybone
From a church bulletin: Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.

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3. Interesting Web site
Here is a good starting place to explore more about archetypes.
http://changingminds.org/explanations/identity/jung_archetypes.htm (If clicking the link does not take you to an article on archetypes, copy and paste the URL into your browser.)

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