Your characters and your personal archetypes

Roberto Saviano, an Italian writer and journalist;
Image via Wikipedia

Sichelgaita of Salerno, Roberto Saviano, The Queen Mum; Alexander CalderSilvio Berlusconi, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, unnamed here personal knowledge female.  What do all these people have in common?  These are some of my personal archetypal characters good or bad.

You probably have your own models of wondrous woman of battle, many tentacled business tycoon/politician, fearless investigative reporter, ruler who brooks no competition.

So…does your antagonist go everywhere surrounded by bodyguards even when skinny-dipping in the stream?  Does your protagonist face insurmountable odds and death threats to find the truth?  Does your heroine’s arch rival cling and talk sweet nothings to men but leave cold messages in her voice mail.

You can use the personal archetypes in your life to give specific details to your characters.  If you can’t get beyond the eye color and straight or curly hair, take a look at the people you pay attention to in your life.  They can be role models you want to imitate or people you find especially offensive or downright scary.

Use the details that you know, especially specific incidents, to add dimension to your scenes and depth to your characters.

Using these archetypes is another way to “write what you know.”

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