Character Type & Trope Thesaurus: Lover

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.

But no more. The Character Type and Trope Thesaurus allows you to outline the foundational elements of each trope while also exploring how to individualize them. In this way, you’ll be able to use historically tried-and-true character types to create a cast for your story that is anything but traditional.

Lover Archetype

DESCRIPTION: Lovers are passionate, sensual, and devoted, seeking the bliss of togetherness and love. They live life in full, show their heart in relationships, and focus on building closeness and intimacy with those they care about. Often this involves a romantic partner, but it can also manifest as strengthening core bonds with friends or family, making them feel loved and valued. Gone too far, emotions can become volatile, leading to obsession. 

FICTIONAL EXAMPLES: Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet); Lady and the Tramp (Lady and the Tramp); Ross Geller (Friends); Alex Forrest (Fatal Attraction)

COMMON STRENGTHS
Affectionate, Charming, Empathetic, Flirtatious, Focused, Friendly, Generous, Gentle, Kind, Loyal, Nurturing, Passionate, Patient, Persistent, Persuasive, Playful, Protective, Sensual, Uninhibited

COMMON WEAKNESSES
Addictive, Controlling, Extravagant, Foolish, Frivolous, Gullible, Impulsive, Irrational, Jealous, Melodramatic, Needy, Obsessive, Oversensitive, Perfectionist, Possessive, Subservient, Worrywart

ASSOCIATED ACTIONS, BEHAVIORS, AND TENDENCIES

  • Being tuned into the emotions of others
  • Showing attentiveness and thoughtfulness
  • Accommodating loved ones and their needs
  • Seeing the best in someone
  • Seeking closeness and intimacy
  • Showing closeness through honesty and trust
  • Showing love through gifts, words of affection, acts of service, touching, and quality time
  • Encouraging others to open up and share their feelings
  • Displaying jealousy of rivals
  • Being envious of another’s close bonds or loving relationships
  • Yearning for (and seeking out) the perfect loving relationship
  • Close contact with others, frequent touching
  • Being sexually adventurous
  • Striving to make a good impression with others
  • Thinking carefully to say the right thing
  • Daydreaming and fantasizing about someone they are involved with
  • Paying compliments
  • Being an admirer of beauty
  • Caring about what others think about them
  • Being a people pleaser
  • Becoming obsessed with fixing relationship issues and erasing distance
  • Working to lift the spirits of loved ones
  • Going out of their way to be kind and helpful with loved ones
  • Experiencing life to the fullest
  • A willingness to try new things
  • Protectiveness of loved ones
  • Putting others first (sometimes to a fault)
  • Being an optimist and being energized by others who are like-minded
  • Being hit hard by betrayals and broken trust
  • Love-bombing (being too affectionate or attentive)
  • Being comfortable with emotional sharing
  • Encouraging others to share their feelings
  • A loved one setting boundaries or asking for space
  • Discovering a loved one has lied or kept something from them

SITUATIONS THAT WILL CHALLENGE THEM

  • Knowing another has a closer relationship than they do with someone they care about
  • Being asked to keep a relationship secret and private
  • Trying to build closeness with someone who has a lot of barriers and emotional shielding
  • Relationship break-ups
  • In laws with biases or prejudices against the character that prevent closeness
  • Loving someone with differing preferences (level of affection, comfort zones, sexual needs, communication styles, etc.)

Link to the rest at Writers Helping Writers