Literary Liaisons

A blog about writing and all things story…

What Are Archetypes?

Writers often get confused about — or neglect all together — the Archetypes in storytelling. Here is a snippet form Chris Vogler’s site, The Writer’s Journey as a refresher.

ARCHETYPES are recurring patterns of human behavior, symbolized by standard types of characters in movies and stories.


Central figures in stories. Everyone is the hero of his or her own myth.


Villains and enemies, perhaps the enemy within. The dark side of the Force, the repressed possibilities of the hero, his or her potential for evil. Can be other kinds of repression, such as repressed grief, anger, frustration or creativity that is dangerous if it doesn’t have an outlet.


The hero’s guide or guiding principles. Yoda, Merlin, a great coach or teacher.


One who brings the Call to Adventure. Could be a person or an event.


The forces that stand in the way at important turning points, including jealous enemies, professional gatekeepers, or your own fears and doubts.


In stories, creatures like vampires or werewolves who change shape. In life, the shapeshifter represents change. The way other people (or our perceptions of them) keep changing. The opposite sex, the way people can be two-faced.


Clowns and mischief-makers, Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy. Our own mischievous subconscious, urging us to change.


Characters who help the hero through the change. Sidekicks, buddies, girlfriends who advise the hero through the transitions of life.

Thanks for reading. If you found this helpful please share it on social media. Find me on Twitter at @MindyHalleck.

5 comments on “What Are Archetypes?

  1. A.M. Pietroschek
    August 14, 2016
  2. Paddy
    May 20, 2016

    Thanks for the reminders. Always good to keep them ready in my mind while writing.

    • Mindy
      May 20, 2016

      I revisit the list and descriptions frequently. Thanks for reading. Mindy

  3. Behind the Story
    May 20, 2016

    Mindy, I couldn’t get the video to work.

Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on May 19, 2016 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , .
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