Torturing Barbie: Archetype, Stereotype, or Cliché?

Best writing podcasts Carrie Jones Dogs are Smarter Than People
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Torturing Barbie: Archetype, Stereotype, or Cliché?

In the past month, we’ve been talking a lot about archetypes and someone asked us what the difference is between an archetype and a stereotype. 

So here you go, listeners! 

First up, archetypes!

According to when it comes to writing an archetype is, 

“An emotion, character type, or event that is notably recurrent across the human experience. In the arts, an archetype creates an immediate sense of familiarity, allowing an audience member to relate to an event or character without having to necessarily ponder why they relate. Thanks to our instincts and life experiences, we’re able to recognize archetypes without any need for explanation.”


So, what’s a stereotype?

It can be positive. It can be negative. But it’s freaking simplistic. 

And even positive stereotypes can be negative like if you say, “Women are good mothers,” it can be harmful because all women don’t want to be mothers and women aren’t unhappy if they aren’t mothers and some women’s biology doesn’t work for mothering and that doesn’t mean they are unhappy either.  If you go one step further, it equates a woman’s value and role to that biological use. It also makes the assumption that all women are more nurturing and have those motherly positive attributes which means that men don’t. 

And what’s a cliché? 

It’s something you see so many times in tv, stories, life, that it becomes ultra banal, ultra boring and ultra predictable. 

The mad scientist.

The nerdy, but secretly sexy librarian.

The rich old cranky lady.

The egotistical warrior.

How do you stay away from clichés or stereotypes? You can parody them. You can deconstruct them. You can think about how to subvert them into something unexpected. Can the old rich lady actually be kind and not wear high heels and have a small dog? Can the egotistical warrior not be egotistical and self-effacing and neurotic? Can the nerdy librarian not be secretly sexy but actually overtly sexy in a glam way? 

Writing Type of the Pod

Think about your main character and the other major ones in your story. Are they normal? Typical? How can you tweak that and surprise the reader? 

Dog Type for Life

How are you a cliché? Are you fulfilling society’s expectations? How can you step out of your role and people’s expectations? 


The podcast link if you don’t see it above. Plus, it’s everywhere like Apple Music, iTunesStitcherSpotify, and more. Just google, “DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE” then like and subscribe.

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Last week’s episode link! It’s about dirty feet and archetypes. Sexy! 

Last week’s bonus podcast with writer Holly Schindler!

This week’s link to our podcast about fatal errors, scenes, and ghost reaper sauce

This week’s link to Ronni’s interview.


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.


I coach, have a class, and edit things. Find out more here. 


I have a new book out!!!!!! It’s an adult mystery set in the town where we live, which is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can order it here. And you totally should. 

And if you click through to this link, you can read the first chapter! 

And click here to learn about the book’s inspiration and what I learned about myself when I was writing it.

New Session of Write! Submit! Support!

Write. Submit. Support. for Novelists with Carrie Jones ONLINE

These six-month courses offer structure and support not only to our writing lives but also to the roller coaster ride of submissions. We offer support whether you’re submitting to agents or, if agented, you’re weathering submissions to editors. We discuss passes that come in, submissions requests, the feedback we aren’t sure about, where we are feeling directed to go in our writing lives, and more.

Find out if WSS is right for you at this FREE WEBINAR on Thursday July 23rd, from 7-8:30pm CDT.Founder Bethany Hegedus will share an inspiring talk on the literary life and will be joined by WSS instructors/TA’s, plus past and present WSS writers who will answer all your burning questions!

This is a great opportunity to meet this session’s faculty, talk with previous students about their growth throughout the program and participate in some inspirational activities led by Bethany Hegedus. *If you cannot attend live, no need to worry! All registrants will receive a video playback of the event!
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Author: carriejonesbooks

I am the NYT and internationally-bestselling author of children's books, which include the NEED series, FLYING series, TIME STOPPERS series, DEAR BULLY and other books. I like hedgehogs and puppies and warm places. I have none of these things in my life.

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