I write romance, which means I come across similar character archetypes regularly. The fun part of these as an author is taking something well-known and putting my own fun spin on it. The fun part of these as a reader is having my favorite archetypes to read.
I’m drawn to certain archetypes more than others. Most readers are. Don’t lie. You know you have your favorites too. Here are my personal favorites to read and write:
I love the charmer because he’s fun. My favorite charmer is Curly in the move Oklahoma, as portrayed by Gordon MacRae. He’s fun to be around for the other characters (mostly). Liked by all. He’s fun as an author because the charmer has a lot of growth to become both charming and responsible. I also love the interaction with the charmer and the heroine and how she grounds him, helping him become a better man.
The fearless, daring guy who jumps in to save the day. I’ve loved this archetype ever since I saw Errol Flynn in Robin Hood. And don’t even get me started on Westley from The Princess Bride. Swoon. As an author, what I love to write is a counterpart to the swashbuckler. Rather than being rescued by him, I have the heroine be his equal and maybe even do the rescuing.
The guy who will protect and serve until his last breath. There is nothing sexier than a man in uniform because we want to believe they will have our backs and fight for truth and justice (and the heroine). Like with the swashbuckler, I like to write a heroine who doesn’t necessarily need to be protected because she can do it herself. It’s fun to watch those dynamics.
Who doesn’t love the bad boy? Michael Fassbender as Magneto, Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing, Paul Newman in The Long, Hot Summer. Come on ladies, we all secretly want to help this rough edged man with a gold heart open up or settle down or finally find the love and acceptance he deserves. I love to write bad boys because they have very few limits, but you can also make them very human.
You can probably tell that I enjoy reading and writing strong male characters, although I prefer to avoid the alpha-hole. That guy who runs roughshod over everyone. I love strong heroes because I REALLY love strong heroines, and I need the hero to be her match.
What about you? What are your favorite archetypes? Do you like the same ones as I do? Or do you prefer the Chief, the Best Friend, the Lost Soul, or the Professor?
For more info on these archetypes, check out, “The Complete Guide to Heroes and Heroines: 16 Master Archetypes.”