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A Guide to Some Stock and Unoriginal Characters for Mediocre Writers Who Don't Mind Religious Agendas
on January 29, 2016
I purchased this book to see if it would fill in some gaps in my own knowledge on archetypes, but I found it to be entirely too attached to a particular worldview to be of use to me. The characters as such offer *some* potential for inspiration in writing, possibly to novice writers or to writers who understand what to keep and what to throw away. Too much is stock or stereotype for my tastes. Too many values attached to heroes and villains based purely upon the author's own cultural and/or personal outlook. Too many of the characters described remind one of some of the worst, most formulaic and irritating writing out there, especially from the past. Regarding the oft-heard complaint that the book needs to be updated, as a member of Gen-X, I have to say that I recognize almost all of the story examples given in the book, but a lot of people 35 and under are going to find them archaic or obscure, or simply irrelevant. I was able to get through two-thirds of this book, bearing with the author's insistence on peddling her neo-pagan or Wiccan beliefs, but when I got to the supporting characters section, I was just reminded so much of cartoons that I really hated in my youth because of insipid or vapid writing. I really don't think this book was worth the money I spent on it. If mediocre writing is your thing, go for it. Writers who force characters to do certain things because it's in Schmidt's "archetypal" description will regret it.
- Easy to read.
- Quick character guides that could be useful when someone just needs an idea to help flesh out a story without a lot of thought (or good writing).
- Author's personal values too much on display. The reader is being soft-sold** very specific ideas on heroic and villainous traits and motivators.
- Characters seem more like stereotype than archetype all too often.
- Reminds me of my brief period of curiosity regarding the zodiac, reasons for which may or may not be clear to you if you read this book.
- Some readers will inevitably compare these characters to their own journey. Given the author's clear agenda, I find that unfortunate.
I cannot recommend this book. It might be useful for some, but really talented and practiced writers don't need it. It may actually make sucky writing suck more.
**I say "soft-sold" because this book puts values on character traits for stories but doesn't presume to be a life-guide, even though the author clearly knows that is how some will inevitably use it.