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)

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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THIRST: Chapter Seventeen . . . Arrested!

Posted by on Jun 20th, 2016 in A weekly story blog | 14 comments

The Enforcers took away our protest signs. We were searched, handcuffed, and divided between the two vehicles, girls in Officer Harvey’s car, guys in with Officer Miller. The Enforcers drove us up the hill to the Champion compound.

Construction around the showers was well underway. They were not simply raising a couple of kiosks. They were building a full-on fence around the place.

“They really must want to keep people from sneaking into the showers,” Zaq said.

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THIRST delayed due to conference

Posted by on Jun 14th, 2016 in A weekly story blog, Jill Williamson's Blog | 2 comments

Hello, readers. Well, I tried. I really did. But life happened and there just weren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. I had to prepare for my talks at this year’s amazing One Year Adventure Novel conference, so my regular night for writing my THIRST chapter was taken, so I tried to write it on the plane, and while I...

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THIRST: Chapter Sixteen . . . Things Begin to Change

Posted by on Jun 6th, 2016 in A weekly story blog | 4 comments

The next morning at breakfast, Reinhold and Kimama had already packed their things in his rig. They were ready to go. I kind of wished I was going with them.

No sign of Dad, so I went to check on him. I pushed open the door to the room he’d shared with Reinhold. He was sitting on the side of the bed, his back to me.

“Hey, Dad? Reinhold and Kimama are about to take off.”

He jumped at the sound of my voice, sniffed. “I’ll be right out.”

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No THIRST This Week: Happy Memorial Day!

Posted by on May 30th, 2016 in A weekly story blog, Jill Williamson's Blog | 0 comments

The kids are home today, so rather than ignore them by working non-stop, I’ve decided to take this day off from THIRST in order to steal away a little fun time with my family. I’m sorry to make you all wait an extra week to find out what will happen to Eli. The time will go by quickly, I assure you. Enjoy your holiday! Until next...

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THIRST: Chapter Fifteen . . . Is Riggs really in town?

Posted by on May 23rd, 2016 in A weekly story blog | 2 comments

“We don’t know for sure that Riggs is here,” I said. “Someone might have the same car.”

Jaylee points to the pewter skull hanging from rearview mirror.

Well, nuts. “Someone might have stolen his car.”

“Eli! Why would you think such horrible things about Riggs?”

Because I’m a horrible person, apparently. I just looked at her, unable to form any words that might make me look better.

Dad and Reinhold kept walking, so I did too.

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