45 Master Characters: Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters, Revised Edition, by Victoria Lynn Schmidt


Free PDF 45 Master Characters: Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters, Revised Edition, by Victoria Lynn Schmidt

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45 Master Characters: Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters, Revised Edition, by Victoria Lynn Schmidt

45 Master Characters: Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters, Revised Edition, by Victoria Lynn Schmidt

45 Master Characters: Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters, Revised Edition, by Victoria Lynn Schmidt

Free PDF 45 Master Characters: Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters, Revised Edition, by Victoria Lynn Schmidt

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45 Master Characters: Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters, Revised Edition, by Victoria Lynn Schmidt

Create unforgettable characters your readers will love!

Want to make your characters and their stories more compelling, complex, and original than ever before? 45 Master Characters is here to help you explore the most common male and female archetypes–the mythic, cross-cultural models from which all characters originate.

  • Explore a wide variety of character profiles including heroes, villains, and supporting characters.
  • Learn how to use archetypes as foundations for your own unique characters
  • Examine the mythic journeys of heroes and heroines–the progression of events upon which each archetype’s character arc develops–and learn how to use them to enhance your story.

Complete with examples culled from literature, television, and film, 45 Master Characters illustrates just how memorable and effective these archetypes can be–from “Gladiators” and “Kings” like Rocky Balboa and Captain Ahab to “Amazons” and “Maidens” like Wonder Woman and Guinevere. Great heroes and villains are necessary to bring any story to life; let this guide help you create characters that stand the test of time.

  • Sales Rank: #99998 in Books
  • Published on: 2012
  • Released on: 2012-01-12
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 8.44″ h x 1.20″ w x 5.50″ l, .70 pounds
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 304 pages

About the Author
Victoria Lynn Schmidt is an author, instructor, and authority on creativity. Her books for Writer’s Digest include 45 Master Characters, Story Structure Architect, and the best-selling Book in a Month. These three titles show readers how to hone their craft and reach their dream of writing a book or screenplay.

Victoria began her career as a screenwriter for film and television. She is a graduate from the prestigious film program at UCLA, holds a master’s degree in screenwriting from Loyola Marymount University and a doctorate in psychology. She also attended film school at NYU and studied independent filmmaking in NYC with some of the top artists in the field. She was awarded the Rocco Viglietta scholarship for creativity, a full Regents Scholarship to UCLA and she is a member of the Golden Key National Honor Society. She also teaches for several Universities including Tiffin University where she uses 45 Master Characters to explore cultural archetypes.

Most helpful customer reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful.
Archetypes need to be modernized
By A. Wright
I purchased two books on archetypes over the past few days, this one (45 Master Characters) and The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes (Heroes and Heroines). I returned this book and kept the latter instead.

First, let me address the fact that 45 Master Characters claims to include information about 45 archetypes, while Heroes and Heroines claims to include only sixteen. This is misleading. Both books describe 16 archetypes for main characters, 8 being masculine archetypes and 8 being feminine archetypes. (Of course, all are adaptable for either sex, but the male and female archetypes are largely parallel anyway.) 45 Master Characters very briefly touches on an additional 29 archetypes for supporting characters, but these are touched on so briefly that they look a lot more like stereotypes than archetypes. In my opinion, if I want your supporting characters to be well-rounded (which I do), I’d apply the main archetypes to them and ignore the 29 others.

The sixteen primary archetypes addressed in each of these books are similar when the ones in one book are compared to those of the other. However, the versions of these archetypes on Heroes and Heroines have been modernized. In 45 Master Characters, each archetype is based on a mythological god or goddess, and they are described as being extremes, which those gods and goddesses are. 45 Master Characters presents some basic goals, fears, and character arcs for each archetype, but despite this, the archetypes still come across sounding archaic to me. More specifically, each of the female archetypes seemed designed around how they fit into a male world, and how their femininity and sexuality is expressed. There was very little about these archetypes outside of how they relate to men and living in a male-dominated world. In short, it was difficult for me to imagine how those archetypes applied to my writings.

In contrast, Heroes and Heroines speaks of the archetypes in modern terms, and explains them in a fashion that seems much more relevant to every day life. Heroes and Heroines also describes, for each archetype, variations of childhood upbringings that may result in a person of that archetype. It also presents possible jobs that may suit the archetype’s personality.

Both books include some additional material related to characterization on top of presenting the archetypes. Heroes and Heroines also goes into how to combine archetypes into a single character, and how casts can be made up of certain common archetype combinations. For my personal needs, I found this more useful than the character arcs and plotting tips 45 Characters gives regarding its archetypes.

36 of 41 people found the following review helpful.
The Ultimate Character Bible
By Pink Hatter
Without a doubt, Victoria Schmidt’s revised edition of “45 Master Characters” is the best character reference guide I own. Not only does the book go into depth about the different archetypes like it promises, the book also gives you access to an additional 46th character you can download off of the Writer’s Digest website, and it also has a chapter on creating plots. The book is divided as follows:

Part I: Getting Started
Part II: Creating Female Heroes and Villains
Part III: Creating Male Heroes and Villains
Part IV: Creating Supporting Characters
Part V: Creating Feminine and Masculine Journeys
There is also an index and appendix at the back of the book, the latter being quite useful if the reader/writer decides to follow Schmidt’s advice on plot arcs.

The first part, Getting Started, is a short part, but also quite useful. Besides the author providing a clear distinction between archetypes and stereotypes, Schmidt also has a handy little character questionnaire. Normally, I’m not too keen when I have to answer questions like, “what is your character’s favourite colour and why?” but the questions in the questionnaire are designed to help the aspiring writer see archetypal patterns in the character, which will help him/her define what their characters’ dominant archetype is. She also has a list of motivating factors.

The next two parts of the book are real gems. They are PACKED with information on potential backstories for each archetype, character flaws, fears, motivations, how other characters might perceive this character (both positive and negative views), and more. I also love how the author made a “good side” of the archetype and an antagonistical side. For example, with the goddess Demeter, her good side is The Nurturer but her villainous side is the Over-Controlling Mother. On the topic of Demeter and other gods and goddesses, I especially love how the author decided to base the archetypes on mythic models. This makes it extremely easy to visualise what the characters may be like, and also makes remembering the various archetypes easier than they would be without a mythic base. At the end of each chapter, Schmidt provides a list of literary, historical, TV and movie examples for the archetype just described. I find it especially interesting how even though there are so many characters based on the same archetype, there are still many different characters that can spring from that foundation. For example, I never would’ve guessed that both Captain Kirk (Star Trek) and Jerry Springer (Seinfeld) were both based on Zeus’ archetype. These two sections of the book are super helpful when it comes to laying down the basic foundations of one’s character(s).

Part IV, Creating Supporting Characters, is just as helpful as Part II and III. The author not only goes on to explain the main archetypes for friends and rivals, but also talks about symbolism. Personally, I’m not the type of writer who actively seeks out placing symbolic characters throughout my manuscript, but I will find this section useful when asked to do a novel study for a class or when asked to write a short piece of literary prose.

The last part of the book is badly mislabelled, being called The Feminine and Masculine Journeys. When I first got to this part, I was very confused, wondering if there was a difference in the journeys male and female protagonists must go on. There might be a slight difference, but when the author started going deeper into her explanation, I realised she was talking about something else. This part could also be renamed to Plot Driven vs Character Driven Stories, Literary vs Commercial Fiction, and several other names. The fact that she labelled these fiction styles as Feminine and Masculine Journeys might not bother some people, but even if it does, don’t let that stop you from thinking this is a good book. However, in terms of content for this particular part, I found nothing that especially stood out to me. Every piece of information I was reading I could easily find in another book on plot, such as James Scott Bell’s “Plot and Structure” and Larry Brook’s “Story Engineering.” The advice on structure was very formulaic, but at the same time, I agree with pretty much everything she noted. Nonetheless, I would still find the last section of the book a lot more helpful if I were writing a movie script.

So if the book is this amazing, you might be wondering why I only gave it four stars. The answer is the feminism. To be honest, I found that the character archetypes being separated into male and female categories unnecessary and annoying. While flipping through the pages in the book store, I felt it was okay that Aphrodite and Artemis acted the way they did, but when I got to Athena, I was also annoyed. Being the only female archetype who is a business women, part of her motivating factors involved “wanting to fit in with the boy’s club.” Um…what? Knowing a couple female professionals in private industry, I can definitely say that they did not become business women because they wanted to “prove they [were] equal to men,” but because they love what they do. The feminism and sexism doesn’t stop at these three goddesses. (There is a useful review here explaining the feminism and sexism towards both genders in the book: http://www.amazon.com/review/R3GE5QBE2HR7JX/ref=cm_cr_pr_viewpnt#R3GE5QBE2HR7JX) As a result, whenever I refer to this book, I’ll most likely be looking at the male section for the bulk of my characters, regardless of gender. Obviously, these archetypes will also just be a basic foundation.

Overall, I definitely got my $17.06 money’s worth from this book. I read it from cover to cover in about a day and discovered a WEALTH of information. It’s sitting on my desk along with my other character references (Writer’s Guide to Character Traits and Nancy Kress’ Dynamic Characters), but this will be the one I’ll refer back to most often.

The verdict? Buy this book. It will sharpen your characters into three-dimensional ones and do wonders for your plot. Just be warned about the stuff I mentioned.

30 of 37 people found the following review helpful.
Really?
By Jake
I was really taken aback by this book, because it came highly recommended as a character building writing tool, but the truth is that this book is an exercise to see if the author can write enough words to sell a book. This is an updated version too, but I think the most recent reference is about the show Will and Grace. Come on. You would think that an author with as long a laundry lis of works as this lady likes us to believe she has wouldn’t have to resort to repeating herself as much as she does to fill space. Her breakdowns are sparse, yet somehow all over the place, and in some places offputtingly and unnecessarily spiritual. I’m trying to learn how archetypes relate to creating characters that fit into just about any modern screenplay, and she describes several of her archetypes as being psychic, or interested in spirits, or inclined toward the occult. These descriptions, again, are just filler since they do nothing to guide the reader toward creating realistic characters. The book worked on me because I ended up buying it, which was the only purpose this author set out with. But heed this warning and don’t make the same mistake.

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