Tuesday, July 18, 2023

3T Writing Tidbit

We've been reviewing plot structure the last several months. How about another of the three elements of story: character? (The three elements being character, setting, and plot 😄)

I'm not going to go in any special order with these. Here's a provocative sentence I came across: 

Archetypes are masks of a complete human being.

Let's unpack that over the next few months. First, what's an archetype?

In general, it's like a sewing pattern, something from which copies are made. Note in this simile, the archetype isn't real. A dress pattern isn't a dress. That'll come in handy down the road.

In literature, there are anywhere between 3 and 13 main archetypes, depending on who you Google.

  • The Caregiver, the Creator and the Explorer.
  • The Hero, the Mentor, the Everyman, the Innocent, the Villain.
  • The Hero, the Mentor, The Threshold Guardian, The Herald, The Shadow, The Trickster, the Shapeshifter. (These are courtesy of the Hero's Journey.)
  • The Hero, the Caregiver, the Innocent, the Creator, the Explorer, the Jester, the Lover, the Magician, the Everyman, the Ruler, the Sage, the Orphan, the Rebel.

I don't even really need to spell out what they do, do I? That's what makes them archetypes. Mention the type, you instantly picture an actor or character in a book or play or movie or show who personifies that archetype for you. Here are a few examples:

The Magician: Gandalf as played by Sir Ian McKellen.
The Hero: Captain America, either Chris Evens's Steve Rogers or Anthony Mackie's Sam Wilson.
The Explorer: Dora the Explorer as voiced by Kathleen Herles

Published since 2009, over the years I've accumulated various items of writing wisdom. The Third Tuesday Writing Tidbit showcases these items in no particular order. Click here to see all 3T Tidbits.

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

2T Repeat Performance - Why a Druid?

I've done a number of blog tours over the years, posting on different sites. Now I'm bringing them to you!

Originally published August 17, 2012 for Harlie's Books

Why a druid?

Myths and mysticism fascinate me. As a child I saw magical possibilities in everything around me. Finding the magic in nature, in life, is as wonderful and natural to me as breathing. Between that and my Celtic ancestry, it was perhaps inevitable that I found myself interested in druids.

A decade or more ago I came across a book, Life and Death of a Druid Prince. It’s an enthralling tale about the discovery of a bog body that bears all the markings of a druid prince who sacrificed himself to save his world. I decided to do a contemporary romance about a druid book and the mysterious professor who’s tied to it. I didn’t finish the story (it’s currently at 27K and I may finish it some day) but I researched druids then, and their courage and daring in the face of the seemingly inexorable Roman conquest remained strong in my mind.

I’ve also been looking to create a hero from Wales for some time now. The characters I write are all seeded in my reality—that is, every character has a bit of my “real” life inside them that’s the grit to the character’s pearl. In Glynn’s case, it’s my husband, whose rebellious streak I never understood—until I discovered one of said husband’s ancestors was a rebel in the Welsh equivalent of the Boston Tea Party. It’s not willfulness, it’s a strong will to see that right is done (and my husband comes by it naturally :) Glynn has this strong sense of what’s right, and the will to fight for it when it’s threatened.

Born in the 1200s, Glynn isn’t a druid. But he is a vampire who encapsulates the spirit of the druid prince: the enigmatic warrior-priest, a thoughtful man who is capable of swift action, and who does what he has to in order to save his world.