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? 


  1. Oh my goodness, Michaela! Do you remember me? Haha, I don't know if I want you to... I was such a crazy kid! Anyway, I haven't talked to you in years (or at least it feels that long), and I just discovered your books and blog! I want to read them so badly now...

    1. Mary!!!!! I'm so happy to hear from you! My whole day was made when I saw your name pop up in my email haha. How have you been? (And hey, I'm planning on some sales/free ebook deals soon so I recommend waiting for those :D )

    2. Haha I'm so glad I found you! I've missed you so much!!! I've been pretty well. It should be hard to complain when I have a bazillion things to be grateful for, but at the same time... Do you ever get in those moods where everything feels stressful and frustrating and you can't think? I have so much schoolwork to finish, a piano recital that I'm completely not ready for, my sister might ask me to be her son's godmother when he's born and I am definitely unqualified to be one (seriously, I have no idea how she handles the stress of being an actual parent. The idea of being a godparent terrifies me), and my parents aren't talking to my brother over some silly argument and it's destroying my relationship with them too because I think the whole thing is ridiculous. Also I met this boy, and for some reason (because social interaction makes me do weird things) I held out my hand for him to shake (I never do that, I don't know why my hand suddenly got the idea that I wanted it to do that). But anyway, he was just going to do the awkward wave thingy, and then he looked down at my hand and realized that I wanted to shake his so he held out his hand to shake mine and then I realized he was just going to wave so I started to do that, and it ended in a really awkward hand-dance where neither of us knew what to do... We ended up laughing awkwardly and he sort of walked away... So anyway, that scene is now being replayed in my head and will probably haunt my dreams for years. *sigh* Life. Why can't I be one of those normal people that doesn't freak out and die inside every time someone tries to talk to them?
      Haha, sorry for the information dump... I haven't talked to you in forever and the first thing I do is whine! How have you been?

    3. Could I add you on hangouts? I promise not to try and video call you or anything, just it's an easy way to chat (If you actually want to. It's completely fine if you kind of think I'm a weirdo for being so ecstatic about finding you! You could also just email me, if you want to start talking again...? Seriously, if you don't it's completely fine!)

    4. Frankly, I'm in one of those moods right now too xD I've been good, just really busy (sounds like you are too!) Best of luck with your piano recital!! Hmm...I wouldn't know what to say about being a godmother...I'm guessing it would be similar to being an aunt, but with special entitlement to spoil the kiddo? And I wouldn't mind at all if you want to chat -- hangouts or email; both are fine :)