Female Archetypes …by Susan Lute
Last week I watched The Mirror Has Two Faces – you’re right, not for the first or even the second time. I love the scene where Rose (played by Barbara Streisand) is teaching her university class after her sister’s wedding to the man Rose has been in love with forever. She’s talking about the female archetypes and how they were alive and well in the personages of her mother, her sister and herself. She shares this information with a quirky, self-effacing sense of humor, a bit of tongue-in-cheek joking aimed at herself that always makes me laugh. This time it also got me thinking…
At my place there are four generations of women and girls. A good share of the female archetypes can be found here. The waif, a distressed damsel who bends with life’s tide, but who’s lived long enough she’s not so supple anymore. The boss, a go getter, always looking for perfection, but never quite getting there. The crusader, a dedicated fighter, determined to make her way. The free spirit, dancing to her own tune. The spunky kid, gutsy, testing her boundaries to see how well they’ll hold against her onslaught.
We are an interesting quadruplet, getting along, not getting along, but always loyal and true to each other. We also have two men, the professor, and the swashbuckler. And then there’s Larry, the cat, both the bad boy and the charmer.
Character archetypes are invaluable to story. If you know what archetype you’re dealing with, you understand the characters motivations. I think that’s true in life too. Do you know which archetype you are? Your spouse or significant other?
Here’s a list of archetypes as outlined by the authors of The Complete Writer’s Guide To Heroes & Heroines (pg 50 and 2):
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’s 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.
And for the men…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 Swashbuckler – Mr. Excitement, he’s an adventurer.
The Warrior – a noble champion, he acts with honor.
Can you guess from the cover which archetypes Logan and Beyla are?
The first archetype I ever wrote was the librarian, at least it was the first time I knew what I was doing. Which archetype are you? And which one do you like to write…or read the most?
Posted on February 11, 2013, in General and tagged archetypes, Barbara Streisand, character archetypes, Dragon's Thief, dragons, female archetypes, four generations, Susan Lute, the boss, The Complete Writer's Guide To Heroes & Heroines, the crusader, the free spirit, The Mirror Has Two Faces, the spunky kid, the waif, thief. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.