Ah, yes, the archetype. Last week we talked about the misfits and the mavericks because they are sexy as hell.
Again, Merriam-Webster says archetype are:
“The original pattern or model of which all things of the same type are representations or copies.”Good ole Merriam-Webster
Archetypes, according to Tami Nantz, help us understand what makes our characters tick. She says to ask:
What does he fear?
What motivates him?
What does he care about most?Tami Nantz
And while I’m afraid to talk about this on the podcast with Shaun because his mind goes . . . places, this week we’re talking about the seductress.
Over on the Reedsy blog, the seductress is explained pretty well.
“I’ll give you whatever you want,” is the refrain of the seductress — a character that comes in all shapes, sizes, and genders. They might offer power, sex, love, money, or influence but remember, these things always come with strings attached. If a seductress is involved, the moral of the tale is almost always, “Don’t believe anything that’s too good to be true.”
Strengths: Allure, charisma, lack of morals.
Weaknesses: The emptiness of their promises.
Examples: Mephistopheles in Faust, Delilah from Samson and Delilah, 90% of the female characters in The Odyssey.Reedsy blog
Some more examples would be Mystique in X-Men and Meg in Hercules.
Valeria Black, writing for The Writing Cooperative had a very definite take on the Seductress, which seems a wee bit reductive. She said,
The Seductress cares deeply about being in the spotlight. She loves attention and the way people fall head-over-heels for her.
But most of all, she loves being the most admired woman in the room.Valeria Black
Because, if you dig deep enough, she is a child and a dreamer at heart who craves constant stimulation in the quest for her one true love.
This hidden quest for lasting love is the main reason why it seems like she strings people along. But in reality it’s because she just gets bored quickly.
And this is so cool to think about if you have one of these characters or one of these people in your life. And I think we all know one of these seducer or seductresses, the person who is all about the sexual and physical validation, and doesn’t know what to do without it. Their self-worth comes from capturing as many admiring looks or hearts as possible. They are dependent on other people’s affection and attention. And that makes it hard sometimes for both them and their friends. Their dark side is like the femme fatale like Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct, right?
That same Reedsy blog has some really great advice about archetypes:
For authors, character archetypes are a useful concept to understand — if only to save you from tying yourself in knots, trying to create stories and characters completely unlike anything that’s come before. Every story has already been told, so focus on what matters most to readers: creating rich, specific worlds populated by people living specific lives, whose struggles are so grounded in realistic human behavior that their stories become universal — no matter where the reader is from.
But the thing is that this is true about life, too. When you understand those three questions we talked about in the beginning, you can understand your friends, family, and enemies a lot more. What motivates the people you love?
Also, Shaun is totally not cool with the gender bias implicit in this archetype, which gets him bonus points from me.
Writing Tip of the Pod
Think about the motivations of your characters. Is there a seducer in your story? Maybe there should be.
Dog Tip for Life
Living for other people’s validation is a really hard way to live. When you are all about capturing as many people’s affections for your own self-worth, what do you do when you are rejected? For many of us, being sexy only lasts so long, right?
The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song? It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.
Every weekday, our dogs have inspirational or motivating tweets on Carrie’s Twitter. Go check it out and be her Twitter friend.
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Last week’s episode about archetypes and if your sex life was a hashtag. Cough.
This week’s episode about archetypes and falling out of cars.
This week’s bonus episode with Vivian Garcia Rodriguez about cosplay, book boyfriends, and being brave enough to get rid of people who hurt you.
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And click here to learn about the book’s inspiration and what I learned about myself when I was writing it.