by Adam Huddleston
This week, let’s look at the literary term “archetype”. An archetype is roughly defined as an original type of character, setting, or concept that comes to be known as the standard for those parts of a story. The reader can see an archetype and immediately understand a lot of information about that item in the plot. For example, Frodo Baggins in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy is an archetype of the small-statured hero that overcomes large odds. Another is the maniacal villain who dresses all in black, twirls his moustache, etc.
Archetypes are not necessarily a bad thing. Overusing them can lead the reader to feel that you are not very creative, but their appropriate use can help them understand and identify with your story.