Jill’s List of Character Archetypes

A character archetype is a pattern or model from which similar characters are based. Sometime last year, I noticed that all my main characters fit a heroic guardian archetype (Achan, Martyr, Spencer). I was pretty shocked to realize that. I didn’t want to be the author who writes the same character over and over and over.

This is my list. I could likely combine a few of these to make a smaller list or expand the list as well. There are no rules here. But I find this list helpful in toying with the idea of completely changing my main character’s archetype, analyzing my cast, deleting duplicate characters, setting apart the others, and determining personality conflicts.

All of these archetypes are capable of going on the hero’s journey.

Sometimes it’s fun to combine several archetypes into one character. Take a look at this list. Do any of these archetypes appear in your story?

Analyst: Can explain anything rationally. Ex: Mr. Spock
Anti-hero: The hero who didn’t ask to get involved but does. Ex: Sarah Connor, Wolverine
Benefactor: Has a whole lot of something he wants to share. Ex: Miss Havisham
Bully: Has no tolerance for weakness, especially in himself. Ex: Scut Farkus (Christmas Story)
Bureaucrat: Follows the rules no matter what. Hermione Granger
Caretaker: Cares for others. Ex: Digory Kirke
Catalyst: Makes things happen.
Child: Could be a literal child or just living like one. Ex: Wally McDoogle, Peter Pan
Coward: Afraid of everything, controlled by fear. Ex: Adrian Monk, Cowardly Lion, Alexandra Rover
Curmudgeon: Irritable and cynical and proud of it. Ex: Ebenezer Scrooge
Dreamer: Longs to be something he isn’t. Ex: Annie, William Thatcher (A Knight’s Tale)
Elder/Mentor/Teacher/Parent: Been around long enough to know some vital information. Ex: Ben Kenobi, Mufassa
Explorer/Wanderer: Wants to see the world—could be running from something.
Extraordinary man: The guy who can do anything. Ex: Indiana Jones, James Bond
Gossip: Must be the first to know everything and the one to pass it on. Ex: Rachel Lynde
Guardian: Protects the weak.
Hedonist/Thrill-seeker: Lives for today in case tomorrow never comes.
Herald/Messenger: The bringer of news, good, bad, or necessary.
Hermit/Loner: Just wants to be left alone. Ex: Phil Hercules, Martin Riggs (Lethal Weapon)
Hunter/Predator: Can catch or kill anything. Ex: Terminator
Innocent: An inexperienced individual exposed to the evils in the world. Ex: Dorothy Gale
Introvert: Lives inside his shell to prevent anyone from seeing the real him. Ex: Gabriella Montez (High School Musical)
Investigator: Thrives on puzzles and riddles. Ex: Nancy Drew, Sherlock Holmes
Judge/Mediator: The arbitrator or peacemaker in a conflict.
Leader: Always knows the best thing to do—and people follow. Ex: William Wallace
Magician/Wizard/Superpowers: Has special powers or abilities. Ex: Superman, Harry Potter
Manipulator: Plays with people and situations to get what he wants. Ex: Scarlett O’Hara
Martyr: Willing to suffer or die for others or a cause.
Masochist: Finds pleasure in torturing himself, denying himself—may take on too much.
Masquerader: Pretends to be something he is not.
Monster: A depraved beast. Ex: Gollum, Grendel (Beowulf)
Ordinary Man: Your average Joe, just like you or me or the guy across the street. Ex: Dr. Richard Kimball, Frodo Baggins.
Penitent: Lives to atone for his sin.
Perfectionist: Every action and word must be flawless.
Pleaser/Show-off: Craves approval from anyone and may do anything to get it.
Poet: Life is art, be that through story or song or art or sculpture.
Rebel/Revolutionary: Stands opposed to the status quo and fights for his cause.
Rogue: Looks out for himself and no one else. Ex: Han Solo
Saboteur/Betrayer: For whatever reason, he will make sure something fails. Ex: Edmund Pevensie
Samaritan: Does good deeds wherever he goes.
Scholar: Wants to learn.
Sensualist: Addicted to feeling good about himself.
Slave: Does not belong to himself. Ex: Dobby the house elf
Survivor: Pulls through no matter what happens, doesn’t give up.
Sycophant: Self-seeking, flatterer, who works to please those in power. Ex: Smee (Peter Pan)
Temptress: Uses power (intellect, magic, beauty) to make others weak. Ex: Megara (Hercules)
Thief: Takes what he wants or needs. Ex: Philippe Gaston (LadyHawke), Jean Valjean
Trickster/Jester: Always looking for the humor in a situation. Ex: Fred and George Weasley
Tyrant: Must be in control at all times. Ex: Captain Hook
Victim: Was hurt by someone or lives in fear that someone will hurt him. Ex: Claireece “Precious” Jones
Villain: Seeks to destroy/trap the hero. Ex: Evil Queen in Snow White, Lex Luthor
Waif: Appears innocent and weak and often relies on the pity of others. Ex: The Kid (Dick Tracy)

What Are Storyworld Shorts?

Posted by on Oct 2nd, 2017 in A weekly story blog, Jill Williamson's Blog, Novel Teen, Podcasts | 0 comments

What Are Storyworld Shorts?

I started a new website. You might have seen my countdown to October 4, 2017. Well, this is what I’ve been working so hard on. I created a writing website primarily to host my YouTube videos and podcast versions of those videos to make it easier for listeners to find them. What are Storyworld Shorts? They are short writing videos or...

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There’s a Teen Track at This Year’s OCW Fall One-Day Conference in Portland, OR

Posted by on Sep 19th, 2017 in A weekly story blog, Jill Williamson's Blog, Novel Teen | 0 comments

  I have been invited to teach two workshops for teens at the fall Oregon Christian Writers one-day conference in Portland on October 21. This will be a really neat opportunity for teens who love to write. We’re going to learn about how to create characters, plot a novel, and how the publishing industry works. The conference is...

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THIRST: Chapter Twenty-Four. . . Will Eli and friends make it to Dr. Bayles before Enforcers catch them?

Posted by on Aug 10th, 2016 in A weekly story blog | 10 comments

What we were doing was insane. I knew that. But the alternative was to spend six months in rehab—likely longer now that we were about to bust into the Champion’s residence with guns.

A couple blocks away, Dad pulled off the road and around to the side of the pickup bed. “What’s the plan? We can’t exactly waltz into Champion House on a good day, and two guns isn’t going to be enough power to face off with all the Enforcers who work there.”

“If you drive around back, I can lure him out,” Hannah said.

“How?” I asked.

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THIRST: Chapter Twenty-Three. . . Arrested again. What will happen to Eli now?

Posted by on Aug 2nd, 2016 in A weekly story blog | 8 comments

I had fasted before only a couple times in my life. The 30-Hour Famine was a favorite of my youth pastor. But going out food for a full week?

It sucked.

The week in rehab crawled by. Each day I desperately anticipated my small glass of water. Carelle Lawler’s obnoxious sessions didn’t help. When I was finally released, I felt like I could drink an entire lake and eat a herd of cattle.

I was released into the lobby of the rehab facility and bade to use a computer there to contact a ride. I sent everyone I knew a message on the Grid, and still it was another twenty minutes before Dad stopped the truck out front to pick me up. When he heard how Tracy had starved me, he nearly drove the truck to the Champion compound to give the man a piece of his mind.

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THIRST: Chapter Twenty-Two. . . Plans to escape go awry

Posted by on Jul 26th, 2016 in A weekly story blog | 4 comments

I spent the next few days working with my dad on our map of the town. We had been monitoring the Enforcer shifts at the different gates and had stumbled onto a pattern. Four Enforcers were on patrol at each gate with the exception of the night hours of midnight to six a.m. and the 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. lunch hours.

Night was our best option, though we still hadn’t agreed on whether we’d take the northern or southern gate.

“The south gate will put us on the road back to Durango,” Dad said.

“Yeah, but it will also take us through Crested Butte and past a more populated area. That leaves us open to the possibility of trouble from outsiders. If we go north, we can drive around the top edge of the mountain, set up a camp, and start looking at creeks that pour into the East River. Could be we find one with safe water and can live right in the shadow of the compound without them even knowing it.”

“They’d know,” Dad said.

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Broken Trust Cover Reveal

Posted by on Jul 20th, 2016 in A weekly story blog, Jill Williamson's Blog, Novel Teen | 18 comments

Pardon this interruption of THIRST chapters for a special announcement.

Calling all Spencer fans!

You’ve all been waiting SO PATIENTLY for Broken Trust, the third full-length novel in the Mission League series. I had planned for Broken Trust to release last year. Then life happened. Major. I’ve noticed that life doesn’t really care about my plans. It does what it wants.

Spencer waited patiently at first. Then he started to get mad. “Tell my story, Jill!” he said. “You promised!”

“But, Spencer. Life happened,” I told him.

“So? You left me with a torn ACL. Therapy is only supposed to take 9-10 months. This is getting ridiculous.”

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THIRST: Chapter Twenty-One . . . Is the HydroFlu back?

Posted by on Jul 19th, 2016 in A weekly story blog | 6 comments

Two days after Hannah told me about the resurgence of the HydroFlu, Zaq and I went to the market to grab some supplies. We found the place packed.

“You know what’s going on?” I asked the clerk as we checked out.

“Someone died from the HydroFlu,” he said. “I guess it happened over at the hospital, but it’s kind of freaked everyone out. People are using all their credits to stock up.”

Zaq grabbed a handful of candy bars beside the register and tossed them on the pile. At my raised eyebrows, he said, “What? I’m stocking up.”

As I drove the truck out of town, the traffic was thick. People everywhere carrying bags.

“This is bad,” Zaq said. “We’ve got to get out of this place before it implodes.”

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THIRST: Chapter Twenty . . . Arrested again? What will happen to Eli now?

Posted by on Jul 12th, 2016 in A weekly story blog | 8 comments

I spent a week being brainwashed by Carelle Lawler that “guns were evil” and I must “trust the Enforcers” to protect me. She made me chant these phrases again and again, and played them over the speakers in my cell at night. There was no point in arguing if I wanted to get out of this place, so I said whatever she asked me to. But me trusting Enforcers was not going to happen.

When they let me out, I came home and found that my dad and the others had been making a plan to get Logan’s modified one-way CB radio inside Tracy’s office. I was excited to do anything to fight against this place, so the next morning, we all went to the showers early, more to case the LLC mansion than to get clean.

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THIRST: Chapter Nineteen . . . Is Eli right to worry that Enforcers took Hannah away?

Posted by on Jul 5th, 2016 in A weekly story blog | 3 comments

Around four thirty that afternoon Hannah called us on the CB radio that Lizzie had left in Krista and Jaylee’s apartment.

“Can someone come and pick me up?” she asked. “They let me go but there was no one to give me a ride back.”

My sister reached the radio first. “This is Lizzie. We’ll come get you now. Over.”

The radio crackled again. “Can we get something to eat? I’m starving.”

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THIRST: Chapter Eighteen . . . Where are they taking Eli?

Posted by on Jun 28th, 2016 in A weekly story blog | 5 comments

Shockingly, they actually did drive us all around to a bunch of houses.

Of the eight of us, (I changed it to eight from last week’s twelve) I was the youngest by far. Most of the people looked somewhere between their twenties and middle-aged. We were each given a slip of paper that listed eight address and were told to rank our top four. The guide—a lady in a fancy brown suit—told us that she’d do her best to make us all happy.

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