Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Female Archetypes

Archetype--1 : the original pattern or model of which all things of the same type are representations or copies : PROTOTYPE ; also : a perfect example

We are bombarded everyday with archetypes. I have a friend who tells me she can pretty much sum up anyone she meets after about five minutes with an adjective and a noun. And she's usually right.

As a writer, I'm sure I hit upon at least a few of the most dominant archetypes: The Boss
The Spunky Kid, The Crusader, The Waif, The Librarian, The Nurturer, The Seductress, The Free Spirit. And I know I have my favorites. I'm not much for The Waif, myself. Unless she's kickass in a pint-size. I've never used The Boss. Though this one has potential. It's hard for me to use The Seductress as a heroine because I usually use her as The Villain. *laughing* That damn tart!
I find myself using pieces of women I see. Or pieces of myself. I think of the Trisha Yearwood song, "Real, Live Woman." The video shows a "peepshow" of real women. Men file into this building and wait for the curtain to rise so they can look at what "REAL" women look like. Waiting tables. Doing dishes. It's a video that really has a positive message.

It's easy to take a character and make them one-dimensional. Make the heroine a Bitch. A Boss. An introvert. Or a Woman on a Mission. But give her more than that. Because we, as women, are the sum of our parts. And just because we can't give a heroine's life story, it doesn't mean she doesn't have one. She had to have walked some road to get to where she is now. So don't be afraid to use something in the story that makes her unique. Or tells something about her. Or generally makes her stand out.
Because that's what makes us Real Live Women.


Amy said...

Great post! You make me want to run out and create my next heroine. Oh, maybe that's because I'm at the hard part of my wip. Hmm....

chryscat said...

Amy: Why do you think I'm blogging? ROFL