Write Your Novel Step by Step (Home Page)

Write Your Novel
Step by Step

By Melanie Anne Phillips
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~ Step 53 ~

Structural Roles

You've already chosen a protagonist and an antagonist, but those are not the only structural roles you can assign to your characters.  In the hero's journey there are structural archetypes such as The Mentor, The Threshold Guardian, The Herald, The Shape Shifter, The Shadow, and The Trickster.  Other Archetypes include the Sidekick, the Skeptic, the Love Interest, the Sage, the Fool, the Caregiver, Reason, Emotion, and many, many more.

Don’t be worried that giving a character an archetypal role will diminish its humanity and make it stilted or stereotypical.  Selecting an archetypal role for each character gives that character a center and an important dramatic function in the story, rather than being there for entertainment only.

For more information on Archetypes, search the web for "Hero's Journey," "Joseph Campbell Archetypes," "Carl Jung Archetypes," “Dramatica Archetypes,” etc.  Or, read Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Chris Vogler's "The Hero's Journey," or Dramatica: A New Theory of Story.

For this step, review your cast of characters and if possible, select an archetypal role for each.  List each character, the archetypal role you are assigning to it, and a brief description of how that role pertains to its actions in your plot (referring to your story synopsis).