Short Story: Archetypes

In a valiant attempt to focus on nano this year, I decided to chronicle my journey creating a short humorous story as a series of blog posts I could schedule over November.

I’d reviewed the character basics and had an idea sentence, but I was still staring at a blank screen.  I had a week to get a first draft.  Maybe Archetypes would help.

Even though it is not required for short stories, I’ve had some luck with archetypes in a noveling context. I recommend The Complete writer’s guide to Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes and Fallen Heroes: Sixteen Master Villain Archetypes.

What I do is think about what I know about Max.  And read through the openings of the different archetypes.  It turns out I am quite opinionated about what the characters is like even when I don’t know them well.

Max Femur is a BEST FREIND.

He is a gentleman, a team player, easy to get along with, stable, supportive, and tolerant.

He makes unnecessary sacrifice, is not very self-motivated, and fails to stand out in the crowd..

Flaws: He is deliberately near-sighted focused on the details (treats symptoms not disease), complacent, unassertive.

Okay I have some ideas percolating.

What if he is not the star, but a player on the edge of the team? Never really stands out so spends a bunch of time on the bench. Because Coach Corporeal forgets he is even on the team. He sometimes has issues actually getting into the team locker room because of his forget-ability.

What if when he does get the ball, he never takes a shot but is always passing it along?

What if he is willing to do whatever the team decides they want to do and goes with the flow?

What if he goes to a party because the team is going? Did he literally lose his head?

I need something that makes this different from all the other BEST FRIENDs.  You always need a twist or something unique to him/her.

What would make him different?

What if he has a terrible temper? Anyone says something bad about soccer and he loses it?

What if he can’t hold his apple cider and his other persona, the BAD BOY comes out?

Interesting. Lots of great fodder.

Have you used archetypes? If not, what do you use for broad strokes on a character?

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