My favourite story archetype

QOTW 15: What’s Your Favorite Type of Story?

Now I want to know: what’s your favorite story archetype? If you need a refresher on these archetypes, look back at Chapter 11 to the section on conflict and power struggles. More importantly, I’d love to know why you chose that story type and whether you’re using it in your current work-in-progress (WIP).


In presenting her QotW, Gabriela mentioned how much she enjoys underdog, or comeback stories.

I have to confess a fondness for the same. I tend to appreciate these stories in the context of the bildungsroman, or the classic story of a character who moves from innocence to experience, in short, the coming of age story.

In terms of the classics, a lot of Dickens’ works are of this type (Oliver Twist, Great Expectations).

I read (and write) a lot of fantasy, though. So I’ll give you a couple of examples from the genre.

I recently read (and enjoyed—a lot) Brent Weeks’s The Way of Shadows. In this novel, Azoth, a young guild rat, begins the story as a homeless orphan whose only aspiration is to stop being afraid all the time. In the attempt to attain his goal, he apprentices to a magical assassin, plays the part of a young noble in the course of his education, and eventually becomes the Night Angel, not by doing what’s expected of him, or what his master tells him to, but by doing what’s right.

Very Oliver Twist-ish, non?

An old favourite of mine is Mary Brown’s The Unlikely Ones. In this lovely fable, the protagonist, known only as Thing, is servant (slave) to a witch. She’s forced to wear a mask all the time because her mistress tells her how ugly she is.

Thing’s lie is very literal. She behaves like the Thing she’s always been told she was. Magic begins to happen when she starts to challenge the lie, however. What I like most about this novel is that Thing manages her transformation through acts of kindness.

My own novels, though I’d very much agree that my protagonists are all protectors, follow similar development and themes. Though they may all have special talents that eventually help them become ‘bigger than life’ characters, my protagonists begin their stories disadvantaged in some way. They have to learn through struggle and loss what they might become.

If you want to find out more about story archetypes, or any of the other writerly goodness that is DIYMFA visit the DIYMFA page!

Tomorrow: I’ll be sharing my notes on the final Ad Astra session I attended.

Next week: I’ll be starting on the panels and presentations I attended at the Canadian Writers’ Summit.


Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz April 27-May 3, 2014


As I compile this, I’m listening to “Hall of Heads” by They Might be Giants. Just to let you know where I’m at tonight 😉

Last week was a treasure trove of writerly goodies!

Publishing dish of the week: HarperCollins to buy Harlequin, from Publisher’s Weekly.

George R.R. Martin’s Rolling Stone interview.

Brent Weeks: New writing advice. This is really about process, and you know how much I lurve that stuff! Plus, he has a standing desk with a treadmill.

Mel’s note: I’ve finally placed my order for a standing desk (goodbye tax refund). I won’t have a treadmill, but it could be a future consideration. Good to know I’m in such distinguished company. Jane Friedman uses a standing desk and treadmill, too.

Elizabeth Gilbert on Success, failure, and the drive to keep creating.


K.M. Weiland’s back with part 11 of her creating stunning character arcs series: The second half of the second act. As with all instalments of her series, you can read the post, or listen to the podcast.

Are your plot points too weak? Also from Katie.

And here’s another, just for good measure: Why you should bully your protagonist.

Roz Morris on the long and the short of writing novels.


And … she shares her experiences creating My Memories of a Future Life audio books with ACX.

Then, Laura Pepper Wu interviewed Roz for The Write Life.

The root of prolific by Julianna Baggott on Writer Unboxed.

What are you doing to improve? All about continuous learning from Liz Michalski, also on Writer Unboxed.

One of my Australian writer friends, Gemma Hawdon, did a guest post for The Write Practice blog on emotional conflict.

Marcy Kennedy’s entry in the writing process blog hop.

Dialog tags of doom on Query Quagmire.

Chuck Wendig ‘splains why he speaks up about diveristy, direct from heteronormative white dude mountain.

Jim C. Hines, also on diversity and cultural appropriation. They were part of the same panel at Pikes Peak Writers’ Conference. Go figure 😉

Then Sword & Laser interviewed Mr. Hines. I met him at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference last year. Such a genuine, sweet man.


Kristen Lamb’s series on Flashbacks: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Felicia Day’s Vaginal Fantasy Hangout on Juliet Marillier’s Daughter of the Forest. Not only was this irresistible because DotF is one of my favourite books, but the discussion about rape scenes in fiction was also fierce. Very worthwhile.


Then Felicia got a tweet. This video was her response:


She just posted today that she watched her own video for inspiration 😉

Carly Watters offers her top 8 writing craft books. I’m proud to say I own and have read several of them 🙂

19 jokes only grammar nerds will get.

Gravitas. For the word nerd from Daily Writing Tips.