Last week, we finished talking about the eight hero archetypes listed in The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes. In this post, we’ll cover the first of four heroine archetypes. All quotations are from the book linked to above.
Along with The Emotion Thesaurus, this has become my favorite writing resource. There is so much variety within each type, and when you start layering or evolving between two different types, the applications of this theory for character development are practically endless.
Edit: here are links to three other posts in this series.
This is a popular archetype in fiction today. She is a strong, tough character who wants to win at all costs.
She will shade the truth in order to gain her objective and she is not above manipulating circumstances to make things go her way. She sees nothing wrong with this. … If someone tries to obstruct her path, she can be blunt and downright brash.
Confident, dynamic, competitive, and arrogant, this type of character is good for casting in the role of a five star chef, prosecutor, madam, surgeon, publisher, queen, or CEO.
Assertive, strong, and clever, this type of character learned at a young age she could charm people into doing what she wanted. She is cynical, driven, and manipulative with “a streak of distrust a mile wide and ten miles deep.”
The SEDUCTRESS holds enormous power over others, hypnotizing them with her charm and desirablility. She is mysterious, manipulative, and bewitching. … Her true desires and motives are carefully concealed behind a sensual smile. Knowledge is power, so she makes sure no one knows her.
These characters make good spies, models, saleswomen, actresses, trophy wives, cocktail waitresses and companions (in the Firefly sense of the word).
The Spunky Kid
This is the “heroine underdog.” She has a sense of humor, which can be sarcastic. She is reliable, supportive, unassuming, and skeptical.
She sometimes hides behind her sarcastic wit, and her lack of confidence may make her play down her best attributes, but she is spirited, cheerful and the most loyal of friends. … People empathize with her; they see every woman in her.
This is a popular character type for chick flicks. She can be a reporter, governess, wedding planner, teacher, human resource manager, or someone who works in a shop.
The Free Spirit
Sincere, upbeat, and imaginative, this type of character can also be impulsive, meddling, and undisciplined. They have a strong sense of individuality and never plan anything, but always seem to land on their feet.
She may be a handful for anyone who has to deal with her, but she makes the experience worthwhile in her zany, high-spirited way. Impossible to be mad at for any length of time … she often finder herself in jams and needs help getting out of them.
Free spirit types are natural entertainers, so you’ll often write them as actresses, showgirls, or singers. They can also make good beauticians, designers, receptionists, or kindergarten teachers.