Why Everyone Should Write (Even if You Think You Stink)

We often hear it said that “everyone wants to write a book.” Although we may find a certain amount of comforting inclusiveness in this idea, I think we also sometimes respond to it with at least a smidge of disdain. After all, the only people who should really be writing books are those who are […]

Archetypal Character Arcs, Pt. 23: Summary of the Archetypal Character Arcs

This post (as the final one in our series) is intended as an easy reference that lists comparisons of the archetypal Positive-Change Arcs, so you can see them all in one place. Each of the individual posts on the specific archetypes does, of course, go into much more depth and offers much more information. But […]

Archetypal Character Arcs, Pt. 22: How to Use Archetypal Character Arcs in Your Stories

And so we find ourselves (almost) at the end of a nearly six-month journey through the possibilities of archetypal character arcs. If you’ve stuck with me through what is by far the longest series I have ever shared, then I hope, like me, you are enthralled and excited by the possibilities that archetypes offer for […]

Archetypal Character Arcs, Pt. 21: The Flat Archetype of the Mentor

And so we come to the final archetype within the life-arc cycle: the well-known and well-loved Mentor. This final Flat archetype, which precedes the final transformation of the Mage Arc, is one of the most significant within human storytelling. Indeed, next to the Hero, the Mentor is perhaps our most well-known of all mythic archetypes. […]

Archetypal Character Arcs, Pt. 20: The Flat Archetype of the Elder

Within a Positive-Change Arc, an Impact Character is the character (or characters) who represents the thematic Truth and its potential to “impact” and change the protagonist. However, within a Flat Arc, the protagonist is the Impact Character. As we delve deeper into the Flat archetypes of the life cycle’s Third Act, we begin to see […]

Archetypal Character Arcs, Pt. 19: The Flat Archetype of the Ruler

The Ruler represents the Flat or “resting” archetype that bridges the Queen’s rise to power and the King’s eventual surrender of that same power. As such, the Ruler represents the potential period in a person’s life in which he or she is in a position of leadership. This Ruler might be a literal head of […]

Archetypal Character Arcs, Pt. 18: The Flat Archetype of the Parent

When we think of archetypal characters, the Parent probably isn’t the first to come to mind. Despite the fact that becoming and being a parent is one of the most obvious initiations within even our modern lives, we don’t often think of the Parent with the same enthusiasm as we do the Hero. And yet […]

Archetypal Character Arcs, Pt. 17: The Flat Archetype of the Lover

As Doris Day used to say, “Everybody loves a lover.” While that might not be universally true, what is true is that the Lover archetype is one inherent and even integral within the human life cycle. Although it is a deeply nuanced archetype that evolves with us for most of our lives—and shows up in […]

Archetypal Character Arcs, Pt. 16: The Flat Archetype of the Child

In many ways, the Child is hardly a Flat or unchanging archetype at all. Even though we often perceive and remember childhood as a chapter in which everything remained the same (until suddenly it didn’t), the years before puberty are, of course, some of the most rapidly transformational of any part of our lives. I […]

Archetypal Character Arcs, Pt. 15: Introduction to the 6 Flat Archetypes

In studying character arcs, writers easily recognize Positive-Change Arcs and Negative-Change Arcs. But somewhat more baffling can be the stories that appear to feature neither. These are stories in which the protagonist does not change or seems to have no character arc at all. How do these stories fit into the discussion of archetypal character […]