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2 minutes
October 14, 2016

Character Archetypes And The Collective Unconscious

Instead of myth or dreams, Archetypes find genesis within the attributes of our mind.

In-between repeated viewings of the new Rogue One trailer, I noticed Melanie Anne Phillips, co-creator of Dramatica, posted about the fractal nature of the theory:

The structural model you see can be the mind of one person or the collective mind of a group. It is the same structure, interpreted in two different ways. When we look at the four levels of the structure as if it were a single mind, we see (from the bottom up) motivations, evaluations, methods, and purposes. When we look at the same four levels as a group mind we see Characters, Theme, Plot and Genre.1

Fascinating insight, and one I hadn’t considered before. By making the connection between a single mind and a group mind within the model, Melanie proves that archetypes are not born of our “collective unconscious.”

…that is where archetypes really come from – not the collective unconscious per se, nor from myth nor dreams, but simply from the attributes that are common to us all. In short, the group becomes a model of the individual mind, since that is exactly what we do as individuals, but now each of our attributes has become an archetypal role in a group narrative.

Character Archetypes simply function as group attributes of ourselves.


  1. Note that I actually corrected her original post to show the difference between the two contexts of singular and group mind. ↩︎

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