Monday, August 4, 2008

The Complete Writer's Guide to HEROES & HEROINES Sixteen Master Archetypes

I am at the beginning stages of writing another novel. This is such a fun stage. Goals, motivations, conflicts, layering the character with flaws and favorable traits, flavor the new work.

One of the things, I like to do, is after I decide who my hero and heroine are, I then pull out my autographed, reference book, Heroes & Heroines by Tami D. Cowden, Caro LaFever, and Sue Viders. I then match my characters with the archetypes listed in the book. (I find it so much more easier to match up characters with archetypes when I know for a fact what are my characters motivations.)

Here are some of the archetypes listed:


The CHIEF - a dynamic leader, he has time for nothing but work

The BAD BOY - dangerous to know, he walks on the wild side

The BEST FRIEND - sweet and safe, he never lets anyone down

The LOST SOUL - a tormented being, he lives in solitude

The CHARMER - a smooth talker, he creates fantasies

The PROFESSOR - coolly analytical, he knows every answer

The SWASHBUCKLER - Mr. Excitement, he's an adventurer

The WARRIOR - a noble champion, he acts with honor


The BOSS - a real go-getter, she climbs the ladder of success

The SEDUCTRESS - an enchantress, she charms to get her way

The SPUNKY KID - gutsy and true, she is loyal to the end

The FREE SPIRIT - an eternal optimist, she dances to unheard tunes

The LIBRARIAN - controlled and clever, she holds back

The WAIF - a distressed damsel, she bends, but does not break

The CRUSADER - a dedicated fighter, she meets commitments

The NURTURER - serene and capable, she nourishes the spirit

Now once you find your archetype for your character, these authors then give you loads of layers to add to your character. The book explains the archetypes qualities, virtues, flaws, background, styles, and possible occupations for each archetypes.

The best part of this book, which I love, is how the book shows what happens when you pair each hero archetype with one of the heroine archetypes. For example, for my hero, he is the PROFESSOR, my heroine is the CRUSADER. Now the book shows the possible quirks, which can happen during the interaction of these two characters. I see how they clash, how they mesh, and how they can change.

When I read a book, I am so relieved when I see sidebars. I love streamlining information. This book has sidebars on each page, giving the reader movie examples and bullets of additional information.

Heroes & Heroines is an invaluable resource tool for all writers of all genres.

Check out these links:


  1. I've heard about this book for years. Looks like one I need to get.

  2. This looks like a perfect book to develop characters. I'm going to look into purchasing it.


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