Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Power of Myth?

Having read some writers' blogs, I checked out Tami Cowden's website about hero/heroine/villain archetypes. She breaks each one down into 7 or 8 archetypes like the Boss, the Waif, the Warrior, the Lost Soul, the Professor, etc. Some writers really talk up her categorizations. While I'm a fan of Joseph Campbell, I'm not entirely sure I buy it.

I tried to scrutinize my own characters through this lens and didn't find it completely applicable. Maybe because I'm too close to them? Calla seemed part Nurturer/part Waif, Peter is part Warrior/part Best Friend and Julia Chesterwood, the closest thing to a villain I've got, is a Schemer (though all these villains just sound too mean! I know Kate D. disagrees with me, but I kind of like Julia. She's fun to write).

Maybe it's too late to apply the archetype after the book's already written. I know my characters so well, it's hard for me to think of them as less-than real people. Where I see the effectiveness of these categories is in the planning stage. I know almost nothing about Marion's book (Widow in Red, perhaps?) except the preliminary set-up, but I already know her hero's a Professor.

On the revisions front, getting so close I can taste it. Three chapters left to revise. My birthday is May 2nd, one week away, and I've given myself the goal of finishing the book before I turn 26. Can I do it?


Theresa said...

Yes! You can do it!

P.S. Super secret fun knitting thing in the works. Big release Sunday. Stay tuned. (Or call if you really can't wait.) But I'm going to twist your arm and make you join.

Kate D. said...

Yes, you can do it!

And I can write Chapter Eleven... after I finish writing this cover letter during my lunch hour (I think I'll be much more relaxed after I've at least APPLIED for a job).

Holly said...

Yes, you can do it! I have faith!

I have a hard time categorizing my characters as well. Like you, they become very real to me while I'm writing them, so labeling them is too hard.

Oh, and about your template, here's what Mailyn said:

tell the scribling women that they need to get rid of
the table because it's forcing the main window to
accomodate it instead of the other way around. it's
better if they put Hermione's pic at the top and then
under it the table with the results. but they need to
make sure the table width isn't wider than the main

Hope that helps.

Dylan said...

I believe you can do it!


Kate D. said...

Okay, the folklorist in me had a great time on Cowden's website. And isn't it interesting that we only have eight heroes, but such a plethora of villains?

I think that characters should be well-rounded, but I definitely noticed strong tendencies towards one archetype or another... not necessarily how the person IS, but how their love interest views him/her. The funny thing is, Jude was so easy to peg as "Best Friend" with shades of tortured soul on top of it.

But Jessi? I really can't peg Jessi at all... and I think that's one of the problems with my novel.