The Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes and Heroines
by Tami D. Cowden , Caro LaFever , and Sue Viders

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Paperback - 200 pages
First Edition, June 2000
Lone Eagle Publishing Company
ISBN 1580650244

            The Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes & Heroines by Tami D. Cowden, Caro LaFever, and Sue Viders introduced me to a completely new way to look at building characters in my fiction. Some writers believe that relying on archetypes to create characters can lead to stereotypical characters. After reading The Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes & Heroines , I disagree. Rather than making me more likely to create stereotypical characters, it forced me to take a second, deeper look at the possible causes of my characters' behavior and belief systems.

The Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes and Heroines by Tami D. Cowden , Caro LaFever , and Sue Viders

            As the note from the editor says, "[the authors] show how the archetypes operate beneath the faces of the most original characters to forge a link with the audience based in shared human experience."

            I've never been interested in archetypes, other than on a superficial level. I've read a few articles on the subject but refused to read any books about it. Then I ran across an article by Tami Cowden, one of the authors. While reading that article, I saw how I could apply the archetypes to my characters in my fiction.

            I bought the book.

            The book discusses at length many of the issues the article only touched on. The authors take the time to cover both hero and heroine archetypes, giving heroes such titles as the Chief, the Bad Boy, the Best Friend, and the Swashbuckler, and giving heroines such titles as the Boss, the Spunky Kid (so named for Meg Ryan as she plays a Spunky Kid in many of her movies), the Crusader, and the Seductress.

            Altogether, the authors discuss in detail sixteen major archetypes, even outlining how the character archetypes might interact as friends and/or lovers.

© 2001 Terescia Harvey.

Terescia Harvey is an aspiring romance writer and the web mistress of Happily Ever After: Resources for Romance Writers and Readers. Visit her website at http://www.teresciaharvey.com/. This review is posted with permission of the author.

            This book's usefulness surprised me, and I believe it can be equally useful to screenwriters and fiction writers. The authors have based their examples on both popular books and movies. The book is a reference but also an idea generator.

            As a romance writer, I found myself fascinated by the descriptions of how the characters would interact as lovers, but the section describing the interactions of same sex archetypes was also informative, providing me with plenty of inspiration and allowing me to create stronger, more dynamic heroes and heroines.

            I found nothing in the book that disappointed me. I would recommend this book to any fiction writer, and I'm happy to say that my copy of The Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes & Heroines is now an autographed copy.


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The Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes and Heroines : Sixteen Master Archetypes

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