Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes & Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes

Missy Tippens here. At the Moonlight & Magnolia's conference a couple of weeks ago, Tami Cowden presented a workshop based on her book, co-authored with Caro LaFever and Sue Viders. The book is The Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes & Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes.
I bought this book several years ago and either misplaced it or loaned it out. So I finally bought myself a new one this past summer. I've always loved this reference book as a way to examine my characters. In particular, I like to figure out what type characters I have, then look to see how the two might interact. I also like to use the book to help me pick a career for my characters.
The proposal I'm working on right now has the "best friend" hero and a "spunky kid" heroine. In the workshop Tami taught, she reminded us that what you look at in deciding your character's archetype is his or her driving force. For a best friend hero, the driving force is community. He wants to help people, and he's stable, supportive, never wants to let anyone down.
For my spunky kid heroine, the driving force is finding her niche. Gutsy and true, she is loyal till the end.
These two won't want to clash, but they'll worry about their friendship being damaged by falling in love. So they'll try to look elsewhere. But they'll end up appreciating each other and will help each other change and grow.
So if you're looking for help in learning more about your characters, you might want to give this book a try. Any other recommendations for characterization?


  1. Missy, a long time ago, Tami used to have a lot of the archetype info on her website. It's gone now, but I printed it out way back when and use it frequently. I don't know why it never occurred to me to get the book, which would be much more detailed. Because of your post, though, I just went and bought it. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Bought the book at the conference, but I haven't had a chance to look through it. I'm looking forward to it though.

  3. I'm glad you bought it, Mindy. I think you'll enjoy it.

    Dianna, it was great seeing you at M&M. There were so many great workshops again this year.

  4. Missy,

    Thanks for the great recommendation. The book has been added to my list of "books to buy" - which grows longer every day!


  5. I have this book and I highly recommend it! You'll find some great ideas in it.

  6. Thanks, Missy, I'll have to check into this book.