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Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes
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Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  381 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
All fiction writers want to write stories with great heroes and heroines--characters who leap off the page and capture the reader's imagination.
ebook, 216 pages
Published May 19th 2010 by Lone Eagle (first published June 19th 2000)
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Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
". . . we explain these sixteen archetypes, show ways to use archetypal characters in fiction writing and explore how the archetypes interact with each other." (p. xii)

This quote expresses what this broad analysis of character archetypes (eight male and eight female) is about in this book. It's more of a reference book to spark ideas for creating character interaction. Divided into four section, it covers the archetypes in Sections I and II. Section III explores the core, evolving and layered ar
Given the size of this book, 200 pages, this cannot be what it claims to be, a complete guide. And it is not. Neither is it an overview. It is an introduction, and for that purpose it is not totally useless. It is rather superficial, and quite frankly, the examples on how the different archetypes interact taught me nothing new, it rather confirmed what I have known since I created my characters. I had hoped for some more depth and hence inspiration. Also the examples are vague, from films almost ...more
Jul 02, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't help but be disappointed in this book; if this is what society is telling our writers to produce, no wonder there's nothing original and I very rarely read fiction: it's cookie-cutter, boring and bland. I was hoping for some great insights into using archetypes, but this was extremely shallow.
Nov 28, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Fun little read. The thesis is that all characters can be fitted into a few basic categories, give or take: eight "archetypes" for the guys, and eight for the girls; some of which mirror each other, and some of which don't.

The authors are pretty upfront about why they think these "archetypes" are powerful - they've bought into Jung's collective-subconscious nonsense. Still, while I don't agree with the reasoning behind why they think these basic character types appeal to us, it was fun to look a
Jul 08, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, writing
This book does a great job of dividing characters into eight male and eight female archetypes, as well as explaining how to use and combine them to create unique characters. It gives examples from popular literature or movies or television. There is also a very helpful description of the *relationship* between each pair of male and female archetypes.

I feel like my characters are already distinctly different from one another, but this book helps me explore other types of characters I might otherw
Jennifer Griffith
I serendipitously came across a copy of this book and it was fantastic. I read it a few weeks ago and have thought about it dozens of times a day ever since. Great stuff for us struggling writers! Kudos to the authors!
Danielle Thorne
Apr 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Awesome reference book. Puts into words something you know by instinct when you create characters. I recommend it to any writer, regardless of experience. You'll think harder about your traits and tags and how to use them.
Ann Brown
Jul 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was very interesting. The authors presented the material in a reference book sort of way, a way in which the reader can go back and review material repeatedly. I prefer to use the enneagram, but this book reflects enneagram ideas regarding character personality types.
This book is really helpful for character creation; if you're trying to interview your characters and getting nowhere, it provides a ton of jumping-off points. I wish I could find my copy; if it doesn't turn up soon, I'll probably buy it again. It's that valuable as a reference.
Jan 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sixteen master archetypes of characters and how they mix with each other. very useful. I've used it to pair my characters and it's helped me discover how they interact.
Sep 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: storytelling, writing
This apparently self-published handbook of character archetypes effectively addresses the "people" part of writing.

As I recall, this book popped up on the Gooodreads recommendation engine, and, as I have been trying to develop my own method of using the concept of archetypes to help me built dramatic characters, I was immediately drawn to it and knew I had to read it. I bought myself a copy and plunged in.

I was immediately impressed with the authors' command of their material and the level of th
May 21, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like astrology
Recommended to H. by: amazon reviews
Shelves: film, dont-own, research
The first and main part of this book seems superfluous to the average reader's or movie-goer's knowledge. Most astrological profile books are more informative in terms of picking apart human archetypes. I suppose there was some interest in terms of comparing the characters of seemingly disparate works, but the simplicity and superficiality of the coverage rendered it mostly useless. At the tail-end of The Complete Writer's Guide there is a section where they use movie examples to pit the previou ...more
Kirsten Rodning
I'm surprised I haven't read more reviews that discuss how sexist this book is. The archetypes listed in this book could apply to anyone of any gender, but are assigned to male or female characters. In many cases, the wording in the "female" archetypes is negative or sexualized, whereas the wording in the "male" archetypes portrays male characters as heroic and human. For instance, the "librarian" archetype (really, a stereotype that is potentially damaging to librarians and intelligent women) i ...more
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Good for having some rough ideas for different tropes, but in general this book was very outdated and sexist. Not worth it.
Melinda Sabo
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I develop new characters, archetypes help me consider all the possibilities. I especially enjoyed the last section of this book which contains various hero/heroine combinations.
Lisa Fenley
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent read. Helped with character development and with the protagonist's interactions. This book goes on the 'reference' shelf!
Jan 28, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I think that the title "How movie characters were made in the 1930's" would've been more suitable. I got at lot of ideas on how I didn't want to create characters, so the book was good for something!
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not very helpful but had a few good ideas.
Faith Freewoman
Jun 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is a great resource, and, like with The Emotion Thesaurus, I refer to it often, both for writing and for editing other manuscripts.

This book was suggested for a writing class, and, boy, am I ever glad I got it.

I have a protagonist who's been giving me fits because I just wasn't able to get a handle on her true nature. Less than a half hour of flipping back and forth through the succinct and easily scanned archetype descriptions, and I finally had her nailed, along with all the information I
Oct 11, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing

I received this book as a gift, I was immediately disturbed by the title. Every time I see a reference book labeled as the “complete” anything, a red flag goes up in my mind.

This book contains some very useful information about heroes and heroines laying out the possible quality and virtues of each type along with occupations they may use.

The problem with this book is in its claim to being the COMPLETE GUIDE to heroes and heroines. Much of the info
I love clearly defined ideas. This book offers distinct and clear-cut archetypes. It is the one-stop reference for understanding the motivations, foibles, and strenghts of character development.

My favorite part of the book is the description of how one archetype would interact with another archetype. For example, how does the Waif perceive the Warrior? How would the Bad Boy intermingle with the Seductress? What impression does the Charmer make on the Chief?

This is a book I will keep on my shel
Sheri Ferguson Edmondson
This is a useful reference book for understanding the dynamics of interpersonal relationships. It provides an overview of the sixteen major character archetypes and discusses how these types interact with each other. It also points out the character strengths and weaknesses of those archetypes. It has some similarities with the Myers-Briggs personality profiling, but they types are different and don't quite match.

This is a great starting point for an author who is trying to develop the character
Apr 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading "The Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes and Heroines" by Tami D. Cowden. Cowden's writing style was not difficult to understand which brought about an interesting yet fun good read for me. In the book Cowden immediately identified 16 stereotypical archetypes (eight male and eight females) with descriptions on their strengths, flaws, and even occupations. As I was reading the book, I was able to relate better to so many of the characters in the books I'd just read as of la ...more
Jul 04, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Util para sacar ideas y en general un análisis interesante, pero absolutamente heteronormativo. Lo tengo desde hace un tiempo (me lo compré cuando era una persona menos educada), pero ahora me doy cuenta de lo absolutamente artificial que es la diferencia que las autoras hacen entre hombres y mujeres. Los arquetipos son básicamente los mismos para los dos, con solo una serie de variaciones sexistas que los distinguen.
Aun así no le quito su mérito, habla de cosas bastante importantes para tener e
Amanda G. Stevens
Aug 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The usefulness of this book depends on using it well. I would never start character creation with this and wouldn't recommend anyone else do so, either, especially main characters. But once the character is developed, archetype is one way to explore further. It's also fun to try fitting film and literary characters into these types (best way to see that the greatest characters won't fit perfectly into any single type).

Awareness of character types is definitely useful to a writer, as long as one
May 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone with an interest in writing a novel
Recommended to Emily by: Holly Snyder
Shelves: nonfiction
Heroes and Heroines is such a helpful book. I say this, keep in mind, as I'm in the process of completing my novel. Everything becomes so much clearer when characters are specifically defined.

Cowden, LaFever and Viders spell everything out perfectly. I felt like I got to know my characters even more with the help of this book.

If you're needing some inspiration, read through the character examples. You may find that writing comes easier afterward.
Nayad Monroe
I had mixed reactions to this book. Some ideas made sense to me and some didn't, but even when I disagreed with parts of it, I got ideas from thinking about how (in my opinion) the authors were getting it wrong. I think it's useful as a starting point for creating characters, or for developing characters in progress. It could also suggest conflicts for story plots. I intend to create characters that oppose many of the gender roles listed here!
M.A. Nichols
Jun 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a great guide to character archetypes. It gives not only a look at basic archetypes, including their strengths and weaknesses, but how these archetypes would interact together. If you’re a writer, I would highly suggest taking a look at this. Archetypes are around for a reason and it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with them.
Jan 18, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I took an interesting class at a conference about archetypes, and the teacher referenced this book. The archetypes were interesting, of course, but I found the book a bit disappointing. It reads more like a list than a book that's divided into chapters, and the examples are all from movies so old that I'd never even heard of them.
Sep 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is a comprehensive, cohesive way of explaining how character's can be formed from a writer's perspective. This guide is chalked full of interesting examples from extremely famous pop culture and classical literary references to help the reader fully understand the concept of each separate archetype. Personally, I would say this is a must have guide for aspiring writers.
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