Thursday, May 31, 2007

Hero Archetypes--How do Intrigue heroes fit in?

Are you guys familiar with the hero archetypes? Chief, Warrior, Best Friend, Professor, Swashbuckler, Charmer, Lost Soul? (there may be others, but that's what I remember off the top of my head)

I think that the best heroes are usually a combination of a couple of archetypes--I mean, a pure Chief could be an absolute bully, and a pure Charmer would be undependable, for example--and neither bullying or being undependable are traits I want in real life or in my stories.

There are certain times when it is awfully nice to have a guy take charge and ensure protection when facing danger (like in an Intrigue). But I like the idea of the Chief emerging when called upon to get the job done, but then being able to let other, more palatable traits surface at other times so that he is more well-rounded and, frankly, a better catch for the heroine.

When I first started plotting out my Taylor Clan books, I didn't know about the archetypes--but as the series went along, I realized each hero fit into one of the archetype categories (not entirely--again, I like a well-rounded man--or at least one who can rediscover other facets of his personality or learn new ones, so he's not so one-dimensional). I was just looking for variety in setting up the family, and variety in my writing so I didn't feel I was writing the same book each time. Who knew?

Because they were cops, and because they stepped up to the plate to face dangerous situations and protect the people they loved, they all had some degree of alpha in them (don't think I could write a true beta), so they all have some degree of Warrior. But they had aspects of other archetypes in them. I think I ended up with...

ONE GOOD MAN--Mitch was a Chief w/ some Lost Soul in him
SUDDEN ENGAGEMENT--Brett was a Best Friend w/ some Chief in him
IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE--Mac was a Professor w/ some Lost Soul in him
THE ROOKIE--Josh was a Charmer w/ some Swashbuckler in him
KANSAS CITY'S BRAVEST--Gideon was a Best Friend w/ some Warrior in him
UNSANCTIONED MEMORIES--Sam was a Warrior w/ some Bad Boy in him
LAST MAN STANDING--Cole was a Bad Boy w/ some Lost Soul in him

Hmm... I see lots of Lost Souls (man, I love those tortured types! )

Now, I'm analyzing other stories to see what I've done, and what other authors have done in some of my favorite books. This is a great "lesson" to help me procrastinate from my writing.

What are some of your favorite hero archetypes to find in an Intrigue?

Julie Miller
(watch for my summer contest, starting June 21!)


  1. Here are some examples I can think of off the top of my head...

    SOLITARY SOLDIER by Debra Webb--Sloan is the almost classic Lost Soul hero, but with a definite Warrior and some Chief thrown into the mix.

    In my August Intrigue, UP AGAINST THE WALL, hero Seth Cartwright is a mix of Warrior and Bad Boy (did I list that as an archetype?--a Bad Boy is a bit of Charmer, a bit Chief, usually with a hint of that dark side the lost soul possesses)

    Julie Miller

  2. I love tortured heroes. I suppose that's why I like your writing so much :-) Hmmmm... Does that mean we're both kind of twisted a little?? LOL

    I think my most tortured hero was Brian Welkins in CAMOUFLAGE HEART. He spent 4 years in the Malaysian jungle as the prisoner of a rebel guerilla group, locked up in a tiger cage.

    Dana Marton

  3. Oh! That was a fabulous book, Dana!

    If loving tortured heroes makes us a little twisted, then twist away! They're my favorites.

    Julie Miller

  4. Julie,

    funny that you mentioned the Taylor Clan, because I am re-reading them at the moment. I absolutely love this series, especially the heroes. Each one of them is really special.

    Can't wait to read your upcoming releases. Lucky that I am in the US when they are released, so that I don't have to wait ages.

    By the way, I love tortured heroes too.

  5. Thanks, Danny! I'm flattered to hear you're enjoying the books--again!

    I like to revisit the Taylors, too.

    Julie Miller