Thursday, April 25, 2013

Hero Archetypes Help you Create (Stroy Craft part 3)

Every story has a hero (otherwise know as the protagonist) even if they aren't very heroic. It's an embodiment of something we wish to see, understand, and relate to. If the character is an anti-hero we want to see justice exacted on the them only because that's what's best for him/her. If the hero is week or deficient in some way, we experience maximum catharsis when they overcome this. When the hero loves someone, we want to see them loved in return, and when the hero is in danger we want to see them survive. 

When you're creating a hero in your artwork, you aren't just creating a mysterious being that the viewer has to decipher. No mater what you do, you are actually building a mirror for the viewer to look into. And this carefully crafted mirror can show the viewer something they would like to see in themselves, or something that provokes them into realizing their flaws. It's a profound power to cut deep and illuminate and the goal is to figure out how to cut the deepest and illuminate the brightest.

It's good to start with a strong platform, so below I have the 12 Hero archetypes. It's important to remember this is not cheating, this is just good form. Think of this like a fashion designer using a mannequin to design cloths on. Sure they could design some very unique clothes without it using the human form, but they are most likely not going to fit anybody. This is not a copy and paste job here this is a guide to get you started.
  1. Innocent: The innocent character is motivated by happiness and childish wonder. He/she can be a vital plot tool allowing for the storyteller to give a reason for explanation. Events that happen to this character push them to grow, and we want to see them remain optimistic despite this harsh reality.                                                                                                                                                             
  2. Orphan: Hardened by their upbringing, the orphan can be a self-reliant, compassionate, independent, troubled, and realistic. We want to see them persevere and achieve safety and come to terms with their pain.                                                                                 
  3. Warrior: This hero runs toward the action. Motivated simply by correcting imbalance and facing challenge, this character is great for pushing us into the depths of danger. We want to see this hero win, plain and simple.                                                                    
  4. Caregiver: The caregiver is motivated by giving aid to others even at the expense of their own health. We want to see this hero cure what ails the world, and we feel most emotion when they are martyred for their cause.                                                               
  5. Seeker: This hero seeks a better life. They can't stand monotony and do what they can to escape it. We like to see this character fail their worldly goal while finding what they were looking for inside themselves.                                                                                                                                                       
  6. Lover: They just want everyone to get along. They are a shining beacon in the cruel world that surrounds them and we want to see them pass their kindness to others.                                                                                                                                                          
  7. Destroyer: This hero is letting go of reality in the pursuit of becoming something bigger than they are. They will die for this cause and let others get killed as well. We want to see what this character becomes, and if it was worth it.                                                                          
  8. Creator: This hero wants to show that the world and everything is real and not an illusion. They are inspiring and intuitive, and they often work to create while pushing to story to identify a new reality.                                                                                                      
  9. Ruler: Seeking to organize order from chaos, this hero simply want's what's best for everyone. We want them to achieve utopia though we know it can't be done, but mostly we want to see them take responsibility for the good and the bad.                                                                                     
  10. Magician: This hero wants to change something or someone for the better or for themselves. But want to see them change to better fit with the world as opposed to changing everything around them.                                                                                                                                                                                  
  11. Sage: This character is a seeker of knowledge and truth. They work to enlighten themselves and ward out deception. We want them to expose lies and warm those around them in enlightenment.                                                                                                          
  12. Fool: Thrill seeker type, they want to enjoy life despite it's flaws. They will trick and get themselves into sticky situations, but this will not distress them as "life is life" and everything is an adventure. We want to see all their crazy shenanigans work out for the best at the end but not without the hard life lessons. 
Phew*... My fingers are tired. I want to point out that the name of the character is just a title and doesn't mean that has to be the occupation of the hero. 

I hope this gives you a leg up and helps you design interesting characters and situations to place them in. And I strongly recommend you look into the subject of hero archetypes deeper as this information can only help you in the long run. Here's a book that will help you with that. 

The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Campbell)

Next week I will cover Villain Archetypes, as in order to have an interesting story you need to have conflict.

See you next time. 

It's nice every to put down the stylus every once and a while.

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