We all know we shouldn’t use stereotypes for the hero or heroine in our novels.
Stereotypes are conventional and predictable and often boring, and it is therefore difficult to keep the reader’s interest with a stereotypical character. We use them for minor characters—the nerd for example. Stereotypes go hand in hand with tropes, which can best be described as the expected (or predictable) behavior of the stereotypical character. The nerd will probably wear glasses, have a dorky haircut, and be a wizard on computers. We all know that, and the readers expect it.
We tend to use archetypes for our primary characters, as defined by psychologist Carl Gustav Jung. Typical archetypes are the hero, the villain, the rebel, the healer, the mentor, etc.
We know they will portray and follow universal patterns of human behavior, which enables us to make them more realistic, because we understand what their motivations would…
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