From Writers Helping Writers:
In 1959, Carl Jung first popularized the idea of archetypes—”universal images that have existed since the remotest times.” He posited that every person is a blend of these 12 basic personalities. Ever since then, authors have been applying this idea to fictional characters, combining the different archetypes to come up with interesting new versions. The result is a sizable pool of character tropes that we see from one story to another.
Archetypes and tropes are popular storytelling elements because of their familiarity. Upon seeing them, readers know immediately who they’re dealing with and what role the nerd, dark lord, femme fatale, or monster hunter will play. As authors, we need to recognize the commonalities for each trope so we can write them in a recognizable way and create a rudimentary sketch for any character we want to create.
But when it comes to characters, no one wants just a sketch; we want a vibrant and striking cast full of color, depth, and contrast. Diving deeper into character creation is especially important when starting with tropes because the blessing of their familiarity is also a curse; without differentiation, the characters begin to look the same from story to story.
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DESCRIPTION: Paranoid and prepping for the end of the world, doomsday preppers have a very specific skillset, as well as access to resources that are in short supply elsewhere. Their knowledge and assets can be useful in certain scenarios, and these characters often become important contacts for the protagonist, supplying exactly what’s needed in the moment.
FICTIONAL EXAMPLES: Burt and Heather Gummer (Tremors), Hershel Greene (The Walking Dead), Howard Stambler (10 Cloverfield Lane), Dale Gribble (King of the Hill)
COMMON STRENGTHS: Adaptable, Alert, Analytical, Cautious, Focused, Independent, Industrious, Nature-Focused, Observant, Organized, Private, Proactive, Protective, Resourceful, Responsible, Thrifty, Traditional
COMMON WEAKNESSES: Fanatical, Nervous, Obsessive, Paranoid, Pessimistic, Rebellious, Stubborn, Suspicious, Uncooperative, Withdrawn
Link to the rest at Writers Helping Writers