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The Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes & Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes

Tami Cowden, Caro LaFever, Sue Viders

Lone Eagle Publishing Company, 2000

Reviewed by Beth Morrow

Copyright 2005 - All Rights Reserved


Whether you pen sci-fi, detective mysteries, historical romance or anything in-between, one undeniable element drives your story and compels readers to, well, read: characters. Uninteresting characters equal uninterested readers, plain and simple.

 If creating dimensional, engaging characters gives you fits, or if you're just interested in finding out what makes people tick, check out The Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes & Heroines.

After a brief introduction of the history of character archetypes, the authors dive headfirst into the eight main types of hero archetypes. With each archetype is an in-depth explanation of that type of character, possibilities and reasons he may have become that type of hero (for example, the CHIEF character may appear unemotional but in reality is a much more sympathetic guy than he lets on). From that, we learn about that archetype's qualities, virtues, flaws and backgrounds, broken into two possible styles, or ways, that character might interact with others in your story based on their life experiences. Several career suggestions are also listed for each archetype, and in the margins, the authors list a variety of movie characters who also embody that archetype.

 The heroine archetypes are presented mirroring the same structure. Following the hero and heroine archetype section is information on how precisely to use the dynamic traits of the character archetypes to create unforgettable characters. The authors elaborate upon and delineate between core, evolving and layered archetypes when creating characters and provide a wealth of information on each type based again on characters in film.

 The book wraps up with perhaps the most interesting section: archetype interactions. For example, what happens when you put a BEST FRIEND hero and a BOSS heroine together? Each combination is examined and the reader presented with possibilities for how the characters clash, how they mesh and how they ultimately change as a result of their interactions. Rounded out by an appendix listing the movies upon which their archetype research was based, the authors provide a comprehensive view inside the inner workings of character to help writers struggling with character.

 Like any well-written book on writing craft, The Writer's Guide to Heroes & Heroines doesn't attempt to answer all questions for writers--instead, it informs and serves as a springboard for inspiring creativity. Don't wait until you're stuck to pick it up.

About the author: Beth Morrow is a multi-published nonfiction writer always interested in what makes people tick in both fiction and real-life. She's currently working on her fourth novel and researching male and female speech patterns for an article coming to a national writer's magazine near you this fall. . Beth can be contacted through her website: bethmorrow.com.



         Last updated: February 19, 2007