The Hero, the Sage, the Healer, and the Child who has been orphaned are all archetypal characters. They can be found in stories across all cultures and eras. Archetypes, both characters and events, are the core of humanity’s storytelling.
So when you find yourself having writer’s block, or you don’t have a ton of time to think up what kinds of characters you want to write about, it is helpful to go back to the foundations of storytelling and use the archetype characters.
I needed a bit of help getting ideas in the last few months as I have been dealing with moving to a different city, so I tended to create short stories with an archetype character prompt. These don’t have to be novels, they can be quick 1 page stories. It is something that helps me stay in the habit of writing, and it allows me to gather ideas of character combinations that I might not usually think of.
It’s also amusing to me when a character that is normally a protagonist, such as the Hero, a Knight, or a Sage, turns out to be the villain after all.
Here is a list of 30 archetype character based writing prompts. The first archetype is your story protagonist (hero), the second is the antagonist (villain), and the third character is a sidekick (you get to choose if they help the hero or the villain, or both).
These are all based on Caroline Myss’s Archetype Cards, which also provide a brief blurb about the character’s good and bad traits. Plus, they are very aesthetically pleasing.
I have used these in the classroom during a creative writing workshop. If you are doing a unit on archetypes, Carl Jung, and Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, these are great additions to a lesson. After analyzing classic fairy tales for archetypes, details revealing the region’s specialties for architecture and textiles, and social morals of the time, you can absolutely use these to get students to write their own fairy tales based on archetypes.
Note from Jules: I apologize for going missing for quite a while. I moved to a different city to be closer to my older brother’s family. We picked a house that needed to finish being renovated, finish packing and cleaning the old house, etc. Somehow we managed to misread the mover’s inventory sheet (which he said to complete by our best guess as to how many boxes of things). Instead of how many boxes we needed him to bring, which is what we though it was, it was actually how many total boxes would we be moving.
Between all of my family members, we have 9 bookcases that are 6 feet tall (just under 2 meters), and they were all slam full of books. The mover said that if he had known, he would have brought a second truck. In other words, he didn’t get everything on his truck, so we’ve been making trips back and forth to get the rest of the stuff.
The Great News, however, is that we had 10 offers after the old house being on the market for 3 days. So it’s under contract for a full price offer! Thank goodness!
We don’t have internet at the new house yet, so I get to explore and reacquaint myself with the area (Athens, GA) since it’s been quite a few years since I was here for university. On the plus side, there are plenty of coffee shops and cafes to work. So I shall be working to get a new job and update the blog more often.
Thanks for reading! Please leave me a comment with your feedback if you have any.