The Road to "My Compass Home": Archetypal Casting

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

When you're writing anything, it's important to know your characters to a certain extent.  In addition to that, knowing how your characters work together may very well save your work! 
While writing the Faith, Hope, and Love collection books, I knew that the supporting cast would be almost as important as Spencer and Lucy.  While the "background" characters come front and center in subsequent books, the bases given to them in Welcome Home provide crucial information and allows for the series to flow well.  I'm not ashamed to admit the use of archetypes when forming the characters, because many great authors use character archetypes that have arguably originated from the Bible. 

We have the "wise old man" archetype in Mr. Barnes, who is steadfast, almost a father (or grandfather) figure to Lucy when she needs it most (and will be there for Levi and Spencer as well). 

The "jester" archetype is in Levi, who was originally intended merely for comic relief...until I started writing about him!  Morgan may also fit into this role. 

I probably don't need to tell you that Ms. Neelson fits the role of the "pessimist" archetype, right?

In My Compass Home, we'll be introduced to Ellie's twin sister, who is most definitely the "champion" archetype -- she's very devoted to her sister's welfare and does everything in her power to help her sister. 

Not to mention Martin, a fellow soldier that Spencer runs into: he's most definitely the "corrupter" archetype: someone who purely wants to cause trouble. 

While it seems like these characters are a mishmash of conflict, they actually work well quite together in order to bring balance and an almost everyday atmosphere to the story.  In real life, it's very rare that everyone gets along in a positive atmosphere.  Throwing in some other characters allows the story to operate in a realistic format -- and you can probably think of that one person that gets on your nerves, or perhaps that person you always look forward to being around because they're so pleasant. 

Archetypes are at work, of course, in Lucy and Spencer as well: Lucy's a bubbly morning person; Spencer's dragging himself out of bed at 11 AM and making wisecracks. 

Certainly, archetypes are meant to be built on.  They provide merely the basis from which a character springs, and if you'd like a great list of archetypes to peruse for your characters, click HERE.

What archetypes do your characters represent?