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.
DESCRIPTION: Snobs look down on people below their own social or financial station. They often display an exaggerated sense of elitism and condescension because they believe they’re superior in some way.
FICTIONAL EXAMPLES: The Malfoys (the Harry Potter series), Lady Catherine de Bourgh (Pride and Prejudice), Tom Buchanan (The Great Gatsby), Regina George (Mean Girls), Frasier and Niles Crane (Frasier)
COMMON STRENGTHS: Ambitious, Centered, Charming, Confident, Meticulous, Passionate, Proper, Sophisticated
COMMON WEAKNESSES: Catty, Cruel, Fussy, Gossipy, Haughty, Humorless, Inflexible, Judgmental, Know-It-All, Materialistic, Nosy, Prejudiced, Pretentious, Self-Indulgent, Spoiled, Vain
ASSOCIATED ACTIONS, BEHAVIORS, AND TENDENCIES
- Having a strong sense of personal identity
- Not being easily swayed by the opinions of others
- Paying meticulous attention to detail
- Dressing stylishly
- Being self-possessed and appearing confident
- Being driven to achieve greater success and importance through self-development
- Having discerning tastes
- Having a deep understanding about their area of interest—art, fashion, literature, or even more mundane things, like coffee or wine
- Associating with people they believe are worthy of their attention
- Indulging in extravagant displays of wealth or personal achievement
- Putting others down—publicly or privately—because of a lack of personal taste
- Having a superiority complex
- Believing their friends or wealth makes them worthier or more respected than others
- Ensuring everyone around them knows how smart or accomplished they are
- Dropping names
- Attaching themselves to people who can improve their status
- Gathering sycophants and groupies
- Expounding on their opinion whenever possible
- Excelling at finding weak spots and attacking them
- Sucking up to others; brownnosing
- Congregating with other snobs who share their interests
Link to the rest at Writers Helping Writers