Recurring character types and relationships are a part of fairy tales, myths, and many modern books. Basically, an archetype is an ancient pattern of personality that is part of the shared heritage of the human race.
Jung believed in the concept of a Collective Unconscious. Fairy tales and myths are like the dreams of an entire culture, springing from that Collective. It is not accidental there are relatively few archetypal patterns. It is also not accidental that archetypes have been amazingly constant throughout all times and cultures, occurring in the dreams and personalities of individuals as well as in the mythic imagination of the entire world.
Let’s look at a few of the more common archetypes and the psychological and dramatic functions they serve in storytelling. Keep in mind stories are a crucible for our own lives. We live in challenging times. Some of us are adapting better than others. While heroes are the “stars” of the show. All the other supporting archetypes are just as critical. I couldn’t build my stories without them.
The “base” archetypes are hero, mentor, threshold guardian, herald, shapeshifter, shadow, ally, and trickster. Today, we’ll look at the first four. I’ll pick up the last four next time.
Hero: Psychological Function: In a very broad brush sense, heroes represent the ego. Most stories begin with heroes who are all ego. In the hero’s search for identity and wholeness, he/she must integrate all parts of their inner landscape to become Self. Along the way, the hero finds teachers, guides, demons, gods, mates, servants, scapegoats, masters, seducers, betrayers and allies. All the villains, tricksters, lovers, friends and foes of the Hero can be found within ourselves.
An important element of the journey is incorporation of Shadow. Shadow represents our darker side, the parts we wish we didn’t have and spend a whole lot of energy trying to hide. (More on Shadow below, as it’s actually an Archetype in its own right.)
Dramatic Function: Audience identification, growth, action, sacrifice, confrontation with death. Out of all of these, sacrifice is crucial. It is the hero’s willingness to give up something of value up to and including his own life, on behalf of an idea or the common good. Heroes are symbols of the soul in transformation and of the journey each person makes through life. It’s why they’re so easy to identify with.
Mentor: Psychological Function: Mentors represent the Self, the god within us, the aspect of personality that is connected with what is wise, noble and godlike. Mentor figures stand for the hero’s highest aspirations. Mentors are often former heroes passing on life’s knowledge and wisdom.
Dramatic Function: Teaching, gift giving (but gifts must be earned), conscience (inner mentor), planting information that will be useful later, sexual initiation, and invention.
Threshold Guardian: Psychological Function (Neuroses): Threshold guardians represent the ordinary obstacles we all face in the world around us like bad weather, bad luck, prejudice and oppression. On a deeper level, they stand for our internal demons: emotional scars, vices, dependencies and self-imposed limitations.
Dramatic Function: Testing the hero. When heroes confront a Threshold Guardian, they must solve a puzzle, or pass a test. One of the most common ways of dealing with guardians is to pretend to be them by borrowing a uniform and sneaking into the Inmost Cave thus disguised. Learning to deal with Threshold Guardians is one of the major tests of the Hero’s Journey.
Herald: Psychological Function: Heralds announce the need for change. The call can come from a dream, a book, a person, or just about anywhere.
Dramatic Function: They provide motivation, offer the hero a challenge and get the story rolling. They alert the hero that change and adventure are coming. ******* Think about these four archetypes and how they relate to your life. Have there been changes because of the pandemic. What are they and how are you coping? Can you utilize some of this information about archetypes to ease the tough spots?
The last Cataclysm book releases 9/1. The series will be complete so you can binge right through it. To celebrate the release of Broken Line, you can buy Harsh Line for half price from my store. Here's the coupon code 5B75F0HM487Z. And here's the link to the book in my store. I had a lot of fun with this series. It spawned one of my favorite characters. Conan is a shapeshifter who can morph into infinite forms. One of his favorites is a big, bad Harley. He's kind of the ulitmate motorcycle. No fuel needed. No keys, either. And he's damned picky about who he allows on his back. This is also my first go round with Vampire heroes. Be sure to let me know what you think because it's not going to be my last.
My Fae series is rocking right along. The first two books are done. Book three hit maybe the halfway mark. I promised to share the cover once I had it, so you're the first to see Court of the Fallen. The last book, Court of Destiny will be along presently. ******* Book covers play a big role in my creative process. I saw a set of covers featuring a badass Fae prince a while back and bid on them. Unfortunately, someone had a faster Internet connection than me, so I didn’t end up with them. But everything comes out as it should because I found another cover I liked even better: the one on Court of Rogues, first of the Magick and Misfits books. I’ve always been fascinated with the Otherworld. The faeries’ ancestral home goes by many names. It’s called Annwn in Welsh mythology and Avalon in Arthurian legend. In Irish mythology it’s referred to as Tír na nÓg, Mag Mell, and Emain Ablach. Irish myths also feature a place called Tech Duinn, where the souls of the dead gather. But I digress. My vision is a world where mortal and faery collide. You, my readers, will let me know how well I managed it. ***** I'm excited for this series to launch and thinking hard about the next one. I bought an amazing cover with a hot chick and wolves, so I might do a reverse harem set. Back in the day, we called it shifter menage. The name may have changed, but the hotness factor hasn't.
This sale begins next Thursday, August 27th. Go to my Author's Direct Store and click on the links for these titles. I'll list them below.
Author's Direct is an app you download on IOS or Android. It works exactly like the Chirp app works and you will be listening within a couple of minutes. The books are yours forever. You're not renting them. There are no subscription fees to maintain your audio library. If you haven't checked out Chirp and Authors Direct, and you love to listen to audio, you're missing out on a treat. Here are those links: Highland Secrets Tarnished Legacy (Includes a bonus book since you get Tarnished Beginnings too) Feral Ice
Here's this month's pic of Drujok. Almost 7 months and getting huge. See you all very soon.