Archetypes -- writing/utilizing them

JohnM

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Remember though that that's just one example of a supposed Archetype.

This is what we need to highlight: that using archetypes doesn't give you developed characters. That work still has to be done.
It's like number painting and development of characters is like coloring outside the lines,

We need to put Stereotype and Archetype in the same place we put 3 Act Structure Outlines and Character biography and Much of the worldbuilding; off to the side for reference and guidance.

The real work and story still comes from Character Development on the page as the story and that includes how the author clues the reader into the character motivation through backstory, strength and weakness to show not just the emotions or feeling or five senses, but also the background to why key elements trigger those feelings.

And in that respect I would beg to differ that Luke Skywalker and Han Solo are indistinguishable. Though there might be less depth to the characters than some in other fiction, even the little the viewer sees of their motivations tells the viewer that Luke and Han's heroism comes from totally different places.

My point is: heroes are heroes. They have certain definite characteristics. Without knowing that, the writer who wants a general audience will end up patching together something that his audience cannot relate to. One does not have to look too deeply into recent history to find out what makes a hero a hero.

By the way, writing theory should be applied after an author has written something. That way, with his own work in front of him, he can be guided further to produce better work. Writing is not pipe-fitting.
 

Don

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We love to find the origin, the earliest, of something.
Archetype's aside, allow me to inject an off-topic "Yes!" My own enjoyment of a story is directly proportional to historicity (historical authenticity) of the medium where a story appears. In other words, a story read from an old printed pulp magazine where a story debuted feels better, more connected, than the same story read from a collection printed decades later.
 

tinkerdan

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Marshall McLuhan
Archetype's aside, allow me to inject an off-topic "Yes!" My own enjoyment of a story is directly proportional to historicity (historical authenticity) of the medium where a story appears. In other words, a story read from an old printed pulp magazine where a story debuted feels better, more connected, than the same story read from a collection printed decades later.

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This begins to sound a bit cliched.
They have certain definite characteristics.
When is a hero not a hero--when he is no longer cliche.
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I think this works when confining yourself to one plot--the Hero's journey.
My point is: heroes are heroes.
However there are more plots than that and in some a hero as a hero might get in the way.
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This doesn't make sense for the notion of writing Archetypes
By the way, writing theory should be applied after an author has written something.
Nor for the argument about a Hero.

Authors must be able to know, understand and, apply these before they write otherwise they would, at best, only accidentally falling into the theory of Archetype; if they hadn't planned it that way and if they already have succeeded I'm not sure how much value added is there in applying theory after the fact.
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Applying theory to a finished work is good for book discussions, writing classes, brainstorming.

The writer should already know these thing and is applying them to the work.
Such theory analysis might be more amusing to them than beneficial.
 

JohnM

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Writers learn to write by writing. Everyone starts as an amateur. No one produces their best work ever at the start.

I have spoken to all manner of prospective writers over the phone. When I mention plot, pacing, mood and other important things, it becomes very clear that no amount of examples I provide registers with them. They have no idea how to apply these things to their work. I understand basic color theory but still need a reference to work from.

The other thing often neglected when writing fiction is research. A lot of research. But too often, I see signs of 'it's all in my head and that's all I need' out there. Not to discourage anyone but most manuscripts I've seen are not good enough to publish. A Hollywood script editor friend of mine saw the same thing.

Using the writer's own work as a starting point means his work, not some theory, becomes the starting point that illustrates his mistakes and what needs to be done better. At the company I work for, some manuscripts get heavily rewritten, and portions are cut or rearranged. Other details are added to improve pacing and story flow. I am working on a new manuscript now where the author has successfully employed layering of story elements and effective, mostly seamless scene changes.
 

AnyaKimlin

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tinkerdan

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Tarot Cards for writing.
Who'da thunk,

So my question would be.
have spoken to all manner of prospective writers over the phone. When I mention plot, pacing, mood and other important things, it becomes very clear that no amount of examples I provide registers with them. They have no idea how to apply these things to their work. I understand basic color theory but still need a reference to work from.
Are you saying that you are applying archetype plot structure to works you review for publication?(When you say applying it after it is written.)
By the way, writing theory should be applied after an author has written something.
It sounds like a fair idea; however I think that limits the type of work you would be reviewing.
It sounds like something that would work best for screen writing.
Not so well for general fiction.

And I'm uncertain of its application to Dramatic or even Historic film fiction.


I have to wonder....
They have no idea how to apply these things to their work.
How many times do they get all that and still don't know what a story is?
 
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