Building a Team

I continue to find writing lessons in the oddest places.  Last time it was as part of a discussion for how to make better video games, now it comes from a YouTube channel that I have posted from before: Cracked After Hours.  The discussion is about the Ninja Turtles and how they relate to Sex and the City, but the context is about the four humors and how they define characters.  Alright, I’ll stop gabbing, take a look:

A lot of literature is about the lone wolf. The guy who comes in and solves problems on his own. However, there’s also a lot of fiction out there about the team, the ragtag group that has to pull together, work together even though their personalities clash. Why do the clash?  Archetypes.

Archetypes are the bedrock for characters, whether the character embodies an archetype or fights against it.  If you’ve got a team of characters, they aren’t going to be interesting if they’re all the same archetype, because at that point they might as well all be the same character.  But if you set them up with contrasting archetypes, give them that challenge to overcome, then they become a dynamic group and can be more interesting than they each would be as individuals.

And in the end that should be the goal of any group with a work of fiction: they as a whole need to be more interesting than the sum of their character traits.  And the reason you see so many groups of four in story telling is it lets the four humors come out and create base characters people can relate to.  In the end you can only hope when you create a team people will be creating personality polls about which member they are.  Just like trying to figure out which Ninja Turtle or Sex and the City character they are.

Oh, and if the answer for anyone is “the girl, because I’m always the girl” then your team still needs tweaking.  Just a little bonus thought.

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