Sunday, November 06, 2005

Archetypes


So I had a comment on my hero's development when Storm Warning was rejected by Harlequin Intrigue, hence my buying Tami Cowden et al's archetype book.

OK--so my Hero, Ben, is both a Lost soul (think Angel/Mulder) & a Warrior (Braveheart), with a layered archetype--just like John Rambo in First Blood. Now that doesn't mean my hero is a cookie cutter image of Rambo--far from it, but they share a lot of the same classic characteristics. (Can you tell I've been reading lots--in between getting on my hands and knees in the shower??)

I think I made my mistake by
1) not making his lost soul history clear right from the start. He was a bastard child raised in a strongly Catholic household by a bitter grandfather who verbally abused his wife and daughter and grandson. So Ben withdrew inwardly, became a target for bullies, though he gave as good as he got. Now he just wants to be left alone, and isolates himself from feelings and aches for what he cannot have. According to Tami et al., that makes him perfect for being an undercover cop (Good--Ben's undercover DEA :)).
2) My second mistake was not making his Warrior instincts obvious. This guy is avenging his dead partner and prepared to do whatever it takes to finish off the bad guys. I need to show his resolve in some definable way.
3) Then there's the transition from tortured soul to redeeemed hero, which was too fast--IMO. So what if he falls for some good looking chick? What's she going to give him that he hasn't had for the last 35 years?? What would make a man like him, believe in a woman like her???

I know the answers, but I'm not sure they made it from my tiny brain to the manuscript. So that's what I have to work on next.

This book is giving me some nice insights into what makes my characters tick. Next time I'm going to start with a basic archetype, before I write the story. Basically it is a method for helping you, help your reader, to identify with your characters early on--isn't that one of the goals we need to achieve?

And then I have a couple of structural issues to address--apart from the shower that is!!

10 comments:

  1. This book sounds really interesting. Your book, not the one you're reading, although that's interesting too and something I might look up. Get to working on it - I want to read it some day!

    How's the shower stuff going?

    What - huh, didn't hear you. What do you mean why aren't I updating the blog site? I'll get to it - honest. I have stuff to put on there tomorrow. Like who won a book, etc. Actually, two of you won - two entered and I have plenty of books.

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  2. LOL--hey your site is cool Eve--books galore!!

    I have spent the day cooking :( Not something that sets my heart pitty pat! I made 3 curries, Chicken balti, Cashew chicken and butter chicken. About 8 meals in all and it has taken me all bloody day, while DH grouted the shower and filled in the gaps where the tiles had mysteriously fallen off! Plus my kids have been rowing and generally causing chaos (well in fairness the BOY!!!)

    So I'm knackered and I haven't been out (and it is gorgeous), I haven't written, I feel grimy and the shower isn't working!! I'll have a jacuzzi instead :D

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  3. I wimped out! I ain't upgrading. Too much trouble right now.

    Wow, what's all the food for and can you come cook for us?

    Jacuzzi! I want a jacuzzi.

    I'm glad you like the site - I just wanted more bling and decided I didn't need it. You should see the other TBR piles. Yeesh.

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  4. My TBR pile is huge too--especially after Reno!! Got lots of free books that I'm slowly working through. Plus White Heat from you, plus I got 3 JD Robb books out of the library because I realized I have a series mystery I want to do too!! And Nora has made that series fly and I'm curious as to the mix of mystery/romance she's employed! Too many books--not enough time :)

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  5. Well, I went to borders.com to order the hero/heroine book and ... yep, you guessed it, 2 more fictions for the piles. I'm seriously sick *g*

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  6. A jacuzzi?? I'm jealous.

    Sorry about the rejection, Toni. Is this the same manuscript you sent out over the summer? Or a different one?

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  7. Was this a recent rejection? Well land's sake woman why didn't you say so? Sorry - it's all part of the game, isn't it. I'm actually looking forward to my first rejection. That would mean that I've finally sent something in. You'll fix it - I have faith.

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  8. It was the rejection from September, after the conference HI turned it around very quickly!!! I think I mentioned it--but no way am I dwelling on bad things. I just want to try again for as long as I'm able :)

    Eve--that is a good thing about RWA contests--someone gives you feed back on your work. Not that you have to be a member to enter. I've had good things and corkers said about my writing LOL. And you should get things out there!! Do you have a CP??? Doesn't work for everyone but my experience has been great!!

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  9. I was distracted from your post by that very very lovely picture of Eric Bana...

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  10. No CP, just me, myself and I. That's kind of what I'm doing with the blog on Mondays. I need the feedback. I used to go to a writer's group, but no one there read romances and when one of them said that the reader would never like a book where it went from the hero's thoughts to the heroines I decided they didn't know what they were talking about. Like Harlequin has never sold any books? I like to know what the hero is thinking.

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