What Are Archetypes?

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Literary Liaisons

Writers often get confused about — or neglect all together — the Archetypes in storytelling. Here is a snippet form Chris Vogler’s site, The Writer’s Journey as a refresher.

ARCHETYPES are recurring patterns of human behavior, symbolized by standard types of characters in movies and stories.

HEROES

Central figures in stories. Everyone is the hero of his or her own myth.

SHADOWS

Villains and enemies, perhaps the enemy within. The dark side of the Force, the repressed possibilities of the hero, his or her potential for evil. Can be other kinds of repression, such as repressed grief, anger, frustration or creativity that is dangerous if it doesn’t have an outlet.

MENTORS

The hero’s guide or guiding principles. Yoda, Merlin, a great coach or teacher.

HERALD

One who brings the Call to Adventure. Could be a person or an event.

THRESHOLD GUARDIANS

The forces that stand in the way at important turning…

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