Category: character development

Character Archetypes Series: #6 Shapeshifter

Character Archetypes Series: #6 Shapeshifter

Before getting to the final part of the Hero’s Journey, we stop to describe two important characters in the narrative. In the previous article, we talked about the Herald, and this article of Character Archetypes Series we talk about Shapeshifter.

This is a character who changes throughout the story. However, it does not change shape but function in the Hero’s Journey. When we met him, he seemed to be bad. His role is to hinder the Hero in his path. Only towards the end of the story, the Shapeshifter reveals himself to be good.

He is also a figure who has worked behind the scenes to help, without even letting the Hero himself know.

Similarly, the Shapeshifter can apparently be a friend. In the end, he turns out to be an enemy, or someone ready to thwart the Hero.

The Shapeshifter archetype in the Hero’s Journey

Batman in his story had to face many villains. However, one of the most successful characters is Catwoman. She finds herself a superhero, after being fallen out of a window and rescued by some stray cats.  She is very similar to Batman; a night vigilante but decides to join forces with Penguin, Batman’s arch-enemy.

However, Selina Kyle, Catwoman’s human part, begins a relationship with Bruce Wayne, aka Batman. With the narrative, Batman will discover who is behind Catwoman’s mask and that his beloved is actually an enemy to fight. 

On the contrary, a famous example of a character who initially we thought to be the antagonist of Harry Potter is Severus Snape. In the last chapter of the narrative, we discover that he was protecting the young wizard on many occasions.

He always led him to the right path. He fell in love with Harry’s mother, Lily, and for this reason he tried to always protect the boy. And he does not ever let anyone know anything. 

«After all this time?»

«Always» answered Snape.

Harry Potter

The function of the Shapeshifter

This character has the function of creating doubts, suspicions, and uncertainty. It also makes a twist in the story. This character is not to be confused with a liar. Even if they are aimed at a different purpose from what we thought, the actions he does are still real.

According to Campbell, it is related to the Hero’s soul and his energy. It is a catalyst for change, changing behavior in the service of history.

Use bibisco novel writing software to create your own Shapeshifter

The Shapeshifter has its own identity. He tries to confuse the hero during his Journey.  However, this element makes the adventure more eventful and helps to strengthen the hero’s determination. In conclusion, the archetype of the Shapeshifter is crucial for the success of the story.

Character Archetypes Series: Shapeshifter - bibisco interview mode
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bibisco interview mode

Thanks to the innovative interview mode of bibisco novel writing software, you will understand how to create a Shapeshifter character. With this archetype, you could hit the viewer or the reader with a twist at the moment of its revelation. 


During the Hero’s Journey, the Shapeshifter could represent some uncertainties of the Hero’s ego. When he has grown up enough, he will be able to abandon this condition of dissatisfaction that led him at the beginning of his Journey.

In our lives, the Shapeshifter represents the moment when we face our personality and everyday difficulties. We could identify these proofs as the Unknown World tests that our Hero and each of us on our journey face before getting to the heart of the problem in the Supreme Ordeal, which we will discuss in the next article.

Good guys are boring

Good guys are boring

Are you writing a novel or a short story and trying to work out the details of your character?

Or, perhaps you’re in a relationship with a good guy and wondering why you thinking of dumping them. You’re not alone!

Good guys are typically seen as boring.

It may be because they don’t like to take risks, or perhaps because they don’t challenge the norms of society.

The truth is that generally no one is attracted to nice guys. Or not?

The issue with good guys

Good guys don’t have to be boring!

In fact, many good guys aren’t boring. The key is to understand what constitutes good.

  • Good as an adjective– to be desired of or approved of
  • Good as a noun – righteousness

There is little doubt that a righteous man should be desirable. They put others first, are caring and compassionate. But, they are unlikely to take any risks or enjoy some adventure. In short, you’re going to find this type of good guy boring.

But, the good guy that is to be desired or approved of has more room to maneuver. They can accept the current rules but be prepared to break them because they are fundamentally good, but realistic.

Realism and good guys

That’s the fundamental difference. A good guy that always seeks the moral high ground is hard to cope with. They are rigid in their approach to rules, even if these rules can be detrimental to them and their family.

But, a realistic good guy lives with those rules and bends them where necessary. They are not afraid to push the boundaries and have an adventure.

At the same time, they will not unnecessarily break the rules, although there may be times when this is necessary. That’s a regular good guy that you can create a story around.

You should also consider the fact that many great guys have lewd and licentious desires. These remain hidden from the average person and don’t stop them from being a good guy.

A great example of this is the Fifty Shades trilogy. Christian Gray appears to be a good guy with a successful business. But, he certainly isn’t boring. He knows how to get what he wants and he has significant flaws that were developed during his upbringing.

The Bad Guy

In contrast, the bad guy is someone who has no regard for rules, they are happy to do anything and try anything without regard for the consequences. It makes them seem appealing and adventurous. You’re guaranteed to find excitement, risk, and danger around a bad guy.

However, in the long term, this becomes a less appealing concept as the bad guy doesn’t have time for others and can’t build functioning relationships.
As a character in your novel, the bad guy is likely to be thrilling but ultimately their nature is one of self-interest.

This drives the reader to dislike them and wants them to fail.

Making good guys appealing with a novel writing software

When drafting a novel you need to appreciate that every person is flawed.

The best flaws are those that affect personality and are invisible to most. They drive people, often resulting in their good or bad guy image. It’s the resolution of those flaws that makes the good guy, and the bad guy, appeal to your reader.

That’s why the bad guy can become the good guy, and vice versa.

If you’re concerned about how to keep track of all this then bibisco has you covered. The novel planning software helps you create plotlines and maintain the story chapter by chapter. But, it also excels at character building.

You are not just listing characteristics. The secret to developing characters is to use the interview technique, you can use the bibisco novel writing software to do this.

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bibisco interview mode

By adopting this approach you’ll ask your character questions and note the answers. It will build a complete picture of them and their flaws, allowing you to develop the novel and stay in character throughout.


A completely good guy is boring.

They will look after you and do their best to serve the needs of the community. It’s simply human nature to find anything that is too perfect boring.

But, good guys can be exciting if they are prepared to challenge the boundaries and you are prepared to show their hidden flaws.

After all, the flaws make them more appealing and reflect that good guys don’t have to be boring, they also have issues that need to be dealt with.

Character Archetypes Series: #5 Herald

Character Archetypes Series: #5 Herald

In the fifth article of Character Archetypes Series, we talk about Herald.

In the previous articles, we arrived at the last step of the Hero’s Journey. But let us stop for a moment in our narration, and return to the initial stage, that of the “Call to Adventure”.

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Illustration by Valentina Forni @cloudandcowfish

We have always said that it is an event that starts the story. It is at this very moment, in this event, that we know the next archetype the Herald.

The Hero’s Journey begins with an inner need, a kidnapping of someone dear or with someone’s warning.

Who is the Herald?

The name of this archetype Herald itself already makes us understand what its role is.

It corresponds to that moment in which even the reader or viewer will understand that things are about to change. We know that the Hero is about to leave the Ordinary World to respond to the Call to Adventure.

The Herald communicates the beginning of the Hero’s Journey, an upcoming change and the need of the Hero to face it. Similarly, it is the triggering event that starts the whole story. For instance, the Herald can be a loved one, a stranger, an object but even an event like a phone call.

“You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.”

Joseph Cambell

The function (and the importance) of the Herald in the Hero’s Journey

We can make some examples to better understand the role of this archetype in a narration of in some movies.

Think about Harry Potter. What event causes the narrative to begin? Harry Potter is a little boy who lives with his uncles, unaware of being in possession of magical powers. So he discovers what Hogwarts school is when he receives some letters brought home by different owls. These animals are the Herald of this story.

Similarly, there is also a Herald in the movie Star Wars. Can you guess who or what it might be?

The Herald it’s R2D2 with the mission he has to accomplish for Princess Leia. Inside his memory there is a hidden message that Luke Skywalker discovers. This moment and the hidden message mark the beginning of his adventure.

This archetype has a very important and profound function towards the Hero. The Herald has a psychological role that affects the deepest part of the Hero. Moreover, he prepares him for a change that is about to happen and for something inevitable that must be faced.

Sometimes you hear this inner voice when you live in a situation that no longer satisfies you. Some call it conscience, others destiny. Anyway, this strength allows us to make some decisions even in the most unexpected moments and to take our life in hand.

Create your Herald by using the innovative tool of bibisco

We know that creating a character from scratch is not easy. Giving life to a Herald is even more difficult, be it a person, an animal or an event. He must have the ability to strike a chord of the Hero but also the reader, so that he feels the same sensations of strength and need for action as him.

With bibisco’s novel writing software you can create the Herald your Hero’s Journey needs. Use the easy and useful interview mode to understand what kind of archetype you need to create. With bibisco you will exactly know what characteristics it has to have.

Character Archetypes Series: #5 Herald - bibisco interview mode
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bibisco interview mode

The interview with the characters gives you the tool to allow you to give life to a new archetype, without leaving out any detail.


In conclusion, not all the most important characters in a story are the most powerful ones. Neither who appear throughout the development of the narrative or to whom you become more attached.

The Herald is someone or something that initially seems marginal but without which the narrative would have no reason to exist.

So, at first we do not remember the letter that Cinderella and her family received announcing the ball at the castle. But thinking more carefully it becomes the moment without which the story would never have begun.

Character Archetypes Series: #4 Ally

Character Archetypes Series: #4 Ally

In the fourth article of Character Archetypes Series, we talk about Ally.

Our Hero has just crossed the First Threshold and has definitively abandoned the Ordinary World. He is now in the company of the Mentor, a fundamental character he met in the first stages of his Journey. He is, in fact, who pushes him to embark on this path.

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Illustration by Valentina Forni @cloudandcowfish

However, this is not the only important character that the Hero meets. By approaching the first challenges that the character of the Ally is introduced.

Who is Ally?

Just beyond the First Threshold, our Hero begins to face the first real difficulties and to understand who the real enemies are.

For example, Neo in the world of the Matrix begins to understand who the Agents really are, what role they play in their power. 

The approaches with the reality that the Hero does not know are difficult and challenging. Often these can be even harder and seem insurmountable if there were not an important character who supports the Hero.

There are Heroes who are lucky enough when several Allies surround him. Think about Harry Potter aided by Hermione and Ron throughout his fighting against the Dark Lord.

In the Lord of the Rings, Frodo discovers that Sam has followed him not to leave him alone. Sam also promises to Frodo that he will be next to him along with Pippin and Merry Brandybuck.

Moreover, in Star Wars Luke Skywalker is joined by Chewbacca (nicknamed Chewbe), a Wookie over two meters tall, co-pilot of the Millenium Falcon, the ship of Ian Solo. 

The character of the Ally is a hymn to friendship: in literature and cinema there are many indivisible couples such as Sherlock Holmes and Watson, of Batman and Robin and many others.

The Trials, the Allies, and the Enemies 

Along with the first difficulties and the Allies, the Enemies arrive. The reader or viewer now understands who is on one side to help the Hero, and who is on the other side to hinder him.

This is a representation of everyday life. When we abandon something that we know very well for something else that is completely unknown, with the first moments of difficulty we begin to understand who we can trust. We understand who is next to us and who opposes us. 

These new experiences, although frightening, are fundamental for defining new relationships and understanding what meaning they have, whether positive or negative.

Think of a long-time friendship of yours. This relationship will probably have strengthened in a particularly challenging moment in your life and in which this person has shown that he wants to stand by you to support you.

The Approach to the Inmost Cave

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”

Joseph Campbell

The Hero approaches a dangerous place where the object of his research is hiding. This object is the reason why he embarked on this Journey. At the entrance of this place is the Second Threshold where the Hero will face the central test.

At this point, we also encounter another character, which we will discuss in the next articles.

For now, let us leave the Hero to study his own strategy, organizing the fight and the best ways to evade all the threats that will hinder his entry. 

In this, the help of the Allies is essential. Each of them is able to give their contribution to the Hero, willing to fight alongside him.  Despite this, they are aware that the final test will have to be completed by the Hero and by him alone.

Create your character with novel planning software such as bibisco

The character of the Ally is anything but easy to create. It can be a childhood friend, a neighbor, a family member. However, he is an especially important character to outline because he allows the Hero to move forward on the Journey, without losing hope even in moments of greatest difficulty.

Thanks to bibisco and its novel planning software you can create the best Ally you can ever write.

Character Archetypes Series: #4 Ally - bibisco character's section
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bibisco character’s section

How can you do that? By using the interview mode to define the character of the Ally and give him the right characteristics.


No one would ever want to be completely alone in their life.

There are moments in which we are overwhelmed by difficulties and do not know how to go on.

These are the occasions that allow us to recognize friends, our Allies and faithful travel companions on our journey. They accompany us in our growth, supporting us during successes and failures.

This is why for us at bibisco, unity is only strength but really the difference.

Character Archetypes Series: #3 Mentor

Character Archetypes Series: #3 Mentor

In the third article of Character Archetypes Series, we talk about Mentor.

To do this, let us resume our Hero’s Journey.

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Our Hero, whom we talked about extensively in the previous article, has now just passed the third phase also called “Refusal of the Call”. Being faced with a difficult situation, he initially refuses to understand or undertake the physical journey.

It is precisely at this moment, in this fourth phase called “the Meeting with the Mentor” that he meets one of the most important characters for him and for the journey itself: the Mentor.

The Mentor acts as a compass for the Hero, advises him and guides him through the narrative.

The characteristics of the Mentor

This is the most important character in the Hero’s Journey and the one most discussed. The relationship between the Mentor and the Hero takes up, in some ways, to the relationship between a parent and a child. The mentor is an essential figure in any narrative. He is Obi-wan Kenobi for Luke Skywalker, to whom he teaches the ways of the Jedi.

This archetype acts as a shoulder to the Hero and guides him in facing his Journey. He is normally a person whom the Hero trusts.

Often he is a former hero. Someone who has already faced the same kind of difficulty and path in his time. He is a very wise person, sometimes an elderly bearded man who aims to motivate the Hero and pushes him to embark on his Journey.

The Mentor explains the rules of the Special World to the Hero

In “The Lord of the Rings”, for example, it is Gandalf who explains to Frodo what he is about to run into and urges him to flee by embarking on the Journey. He will always be close to him, in one way or another.

The same goes for Morpheus in “The Matrix” in search of the Chosen One. When he finds Neo, he saves him from the Matrix by explaining to him what reality is built by machines and what is real, concrete. Morpheus is also a Mentor who trains Neo, the Hero, advises and stands by to guide him to the completion of the Journey.

“The Matrix is ​​everywhere, it is the world that has been placed before your eyes to hide the truth from you”.


The Mentor can be one or even more than one.

In Harry Potter, for example, there are two Mentors: Hagrid and Dumbledore. Hagrid follows Harry Potter from the beginning, worrying about saving a small baby from Voldemort by entrusting him to his uncles until he is fourteen years old. Dumbledore who will take care of Harry and to grow him as a wizard on his Journey.

What is the Mentor’s job?

His task is to prepare and instruct the Hero for the difficulties and trials he might find on his path. For this reason, he sometimes gives him gifts that can protect him or make him stronger.

Continuing with the example of Harry Potter, even after his death, Dumbledore makes sure that Harry Potter has gifts that can be useful to him in the final challenge of the narrative. Think of the resurrection stone, or the same cloak of invisibility given to Harry in the first year of school.

The Mentor, however, leads the Hero towards his goal, until the completion of the mission but can never face any test in his place. Even in the final difficulty, the greatest, the Mentor steps aside. The Hero learned everything he needed from the Mentor. Now he must be able to complete the Journey on his own.

This is why the relationship between these two is fundamental: one needs the other. Without the Mentor, the Hero would not be able to undertake the Journey. But without the Hero, the Mentor would not achieve his purpose or something that completes his life path.

In “Hercules” Disney animated film, the ancient hero trainer Philoctetes has the dream of educating a hero so strong that his image will be painted among the stars by the Gods and everyone will remember him “that’s Phil’s boy “. It is with this motivation that Hercules, the Hero of history, finding himself in the position of having to leave his Ordinary World to begin his Hero’s Journey, convinces him to train and instruct him.

The next phase: Crossing the First Threshold

In the stage of the “Crossing the first Threshold” the Mentor has instructed his Hero, giving him all the tools he needs and the Hero is ready to embark on the Journey. He then crosses the First Threshold.

It is the complete abandonment of the Ordinary World from which the Hero had begun to detach himself.

Thinking about Neo taking the red pill when he decides to discover the truth. It is the moment of decision and the first action that will lead the Hero to never go back. The challenges that await him are endless and unknown. But now, ready and supported by the Mentor, he cannot help but continue.

In the other stages, the Mentor will always be present but other characters will also intervene. I will explain them with the subsequent stages of the Journey in the next articles.

Develop the character of the Mentor thanks to a novel writing software like bibisco

As explained, the Mentor is one of the most important in the Hero’s Journey. It can be an older and more experienced character, a former hero, a friend or family member.

Character Archetypes Series: #3 Mentor - bibisco character's interview
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bibisco character’s interview

bibisco’s interview mode, helps you to understand how to create this important character, what characteristics and what structure to give him so as to guide your Hero on an exciting journey that will thrill your audience.


We become fond of the figure of the Mentor, almost as much as that of the Hero. It is thanks to this character that the Hero is able to face his Journey and trials, even the most complicated ones.

On the other hand, when we have to face a difficult choice, all of us look for our mentor. Be it a friend, a parent, a brother or sister, we seek advice from someone who has more experience than us or who has already faced the same choice. His closeness and his advice give us comfort, strength and make us feel less alone.

Because, as in every narrative and life story united we stand, divided we fall.

Character Archetypes Series: #2 Hero

Character Archetypes Series: #2 Hero

In this article of Character Archetypes Series, we talk about Hero.

The Hero is the first of the Characters Archetypes.

Joseph Campbell in his work The Hero with a Thousand Faces talks about it in depth. Campbell’s studies also directly involved Christopher Vogler, a consultant for the Disney screenplays, who in the late 90s wrote a book taking cues from Campbell’s archetypes and his Hero’s Journey also called Monomyth, developing a useful book for the analysis of films and written stories.

So, we see in so many narratives, literary and cinematographic, that the protagonist leaves his “comfort zone” to go to another place to face challenges and inner demons that will lead him to change forever, and then return to his own world, with a different awareness of himself.

Who is the Hero?

The Hero is almost always the protagonist of the narrative. The story and the Hero’s Journey are concentrated around him.

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Illustration by Valentina Forni @cloudandcowfish

The figure of the Hero is presented in the first part, that of the Ordinary World.  Here we describe the context in which he spends his daily life, what are his bonds, his values.

However, the Hero also has a weakness, defined as “Fatal Flaw“, which can coincide with the affections or with the strong desire to change the condition of his current life.

It is a missing puzzle piece that intrigues him, which makes him stay awake at night like Neo in the Matrix, drawn to the feeling that the world he belongs to is different. Likewise, Harry Potter.

They both feel the lack of something unknown that does not allow them to feel complete.

He is a character with a strong desire, like Pinocchio who wants to grow, transform, and become a child.

You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.


Characteristics of the Hero 

The protagonist has characteristics in which the reader recognizes himself: he has contradictions and has defects that in their own way contribute to making him more attractive in the eyes of those who read his stories as well as making him more “real“. 

Thanks to this strong bond created between the Hero and the public, we want as much as the Hero himself for the Journey to end successfully.

During the story, the Hero grows, reflects, changes, and returns at the end of the Journey as a different Hero from the one who left, with a greater awareness of himself.

Another striking example is Mulan, the protagonist of the Disney cartoon. She’s a young girl who dishonors her family because she does not reflect the characteristics of the perfect woman and wife.

Mulan feels she does not belong to the context that surrounds her. Only when she decides, disguising herself as a man, to take her father’s place in battle, she finds herself and she honors her family.

How the Hero’s Journey begins 

In the second stage, the “Call to Adventure”, an event turns the “Ordinary World” upside down and the Hero understands what his goal is.

It is not obvious, however, that he immediately decides to follow his Journey.

Why should he put his life in danger or risk leaving what he has, what he knows well, for something unknown?

This step is called “Refusal of the Call”. It involves a triggering, dramatic event: the death of a loved one, for example, or the impossibility for the Hero to return to his previous life.

The protagonist lives the situation of the classic straw that breaks the camel’s back and is now able to make the decision to venture into the narrative by finding his own personal motivations.

This is the main difference between the “Call to Adventure” and the “Refusal of the Call”: in the first, his social world has been subverted and the motivation to undertake the Journey is external, while in the second phase the Hero finds an internal and personal motivation. 

The Hero’s Journey in films and books 

Many narratives, be they books or films, take the same path.

Let us take the movie “Star Wars” as an example. George Lucas, the director, admits that the script largely follows Campbell’s Hero’s Journey. 

Think about how the narration of the film begins. Luke Skywalker is a young man who lives in Tatooine, a desert planet of the Outer Rim. He works with his uncles in the fields. Even though he wishes to enroll in the academy, his uncle Owen does everything to keep him out. Here is his “Ordinary World”.

When the two droids, R2-D2 and C-3PO arrive, Luke’s world is turned upside down. This is the time for the “Call to Adventure”. But Luke will initially refuse to get involved, simply trying to retrieve his uncle’s droids and return home, restoring the “Ordinary World”.

The triggering event is the murder of his uncles and so the Hero’s Journey begins.

How does the Journey continue?

The first three phases belong almost exclusively to the Hero and his world.

These are moments in which the public begins to understand who the Hero is, what his characteristics are, and in which world he lives.

In the following stages, however, our Hero will meet other characters who will accompany him on his Journey.

We will talk about these and the other characters in the next articles.

Create your perfect Hero thanks to bibisco

In this article, we have described the initial stages of the Journey that a Hero must face and the characteristics that must belong to his character.

However, it is not so easy to think of structuring a protagonist with such an interesting character to capture the attention of the public from the very first moments.

Thanks to bibisco novel writing software everything will be much easier.

Character Archetypes Series: #2 Hero - bibisco character's interview
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bibisco character’s interview

You can use the interview mode to understand which structure and what behaviors to give to your Hero, thus creating a character that you will not forget!


The Hero is not an infallible character, he is much more human than what the term itself suggests.

Thanks to his flaws, his indecisions, his values ​​he manages to create a particular bond with his audience to the point of passionate and moved him in following the events of his Journey.

The beauty of this character is the evolution that characterizes the life of each of us.

Think about it, what moment of your life was your “Call to Adventure”?

Character Archetypes Series: #1 What is an archetype?

Character Archetypes Series: #1 What is an archetype?

An archetype, by definition, is the first example of something.

Carl Gustav Jung talked a lot about archetypes in the field of analytic psychology. He defined archetypes as the unconscious content of a group that replicates certain behaviors according to particular constants.

From these studies, Joseph Campbell, an American scholar of comparative mythology and history of religions, started to define the archetypes of a narrative. They are a canvas that guided every narration, albeit with different elements, protagonists, plot and historical periods.

His studies led to the publication in 1949 of the essay The hero of a thousand faces.

Campbell analyzed the structure of many myths and narratives in order to define an archetype, that is, a structure of elements, characters (called Character Archetypes) and events that are repeated in the course of the story.

According to his model, each narrative was composed of a pattern that was always the same, or rather an archetypal model, which he called “the Hero’s Journey”.

Character Archetypes: what and which are they?

We introduced the concept of Character Archetypes identified by Campbell in the narrative.

The definition of these figures is fundamental to create the characters of a story and is an essential prerequisite for the drafting of a text.

Many novice writers tend to focus all attention on the plot of the story, leaving aside the characterization of the characters which, however, is as fundamental as the narrative texture.

The archetypes are in fact models of behavior. They are models of the roles that the character must play and that represent the narrative functions in the story.

Each character has a different role and function within the narrative. And for each of them, their human nature must emerge, characterized by strengths, defects and contradictions. 

Different types of hero

We think of Ulysses, a tenacious mythological hero who sails for ten long years in the direction of home. But who lets himself be tempted by the pleasures of the flesh bewitched by the sorceress Circe.

Think of Alice, who in Wonderland follows the white rabbit in his lair, falling into the tunnel that leads her to Wonderland.

Or even to Harry Potter, who lives his internal duplicity by fighting the part of Lord Voldemort that is inherent in him.

These three characters are some typical examples of the figure of the Hero, although they represent diametrically opposed characters.

Characters and archetypes

In the most interesting stories, the characters evolve.

So the association between a character and an archetype is not necessarily fixed. There are characters that are born with a particular function and that in the course of history acquire another.

Because the engine of every story is the conflict of the characters and their evolution.

Campbell’s archetypes

Campbell defined eight Character Archetypes:

  1. Hero
  2. Mentor
  3. Ally
  4. Herald
  5. Shapeshifter
  6. Shadow
  7. Guardian
  8. Trickster

In the articles that follow in the coming weeks, I will describe them carefully, one by one.

The phases of “The Hero’s Journey”

Character Archetypes Series: #1 What is an archetype? - Hero's journey.
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Illustration by Valentina Forni @cloudandcowfish

While there are eight Character Archetypes, the Hero’s journey consists of twelve distinct phases.

The call to adventure signifies that destiny has summoned the hero.


The ordinary world

Let us start with the first phase, the “Ordinary World”.

The hero leaves one world to begin his journey and enters a second world.

Although it’s the starting point and the one that the protagonist leaves after a short time, the Ordinary World is anything but marginal.

It’s the element that reinforces the story. It makes the reader grow fond of it because it gives the protagonist a reason to complete the journey and return to his habits, his world, or his loved ones.

The “Call to Adventure” is the second stop. Here the objective of the Hero’s journey is established and coincides with the moment in which something happens that starts the rest of the narrative.

The other two phases are connected to each other: the “Refusal of the Call” and the “Meeting with the Mentor”.

Without the Hero who refuses the action and initially shun their duty, there would be no meeting with the Mentor, the one who guides the protagonist during the journey with his wisdom.

The First Threshold

When the Hero finally accepts the challenge, we find “Crossing the First Threshold” and it’s the point of no return.

The story now begins and we only look forward to what will happen during the journey.

In the area of ​​“Tests, Allies, and Enemies”, the Hero faces the first challenges, meets Allies, Enemies and you understand the parts of all the characters. Who is on the good side and who is on the bad side.

The Second Threshold

The second threshold is the “Approach to Inmost Cave”.

This is the most dangerous part of the Journey and of the story. It’s when internal struggles of a team happen. It’s the moment in which the Hero understands something more about himself. 

We then move on to the “Supreme Ordeal”, the most critical and hard part of the test in which the Hero risks his own life.

If he passes it, the Hero goes directly to the next phase, “Reward”, in which reaches his reward or its goal.

Then, we set out for the return “The Road back”, where we see a different Hero from the one who left, who has learned a lot from himself and from the journey. 

The Third Threshold

The third threshold, the last one, is the “Resurrection” which could also be called the litmus test.

It’s the moment in which the Hero proves to have really changed.

Where even the reader recognizes himself in the awareness of the Hero until the final phase, “Return with Elixir”. In this phase, the Hero return to his world, from which he started and that concludes the story.

Develop your characters with innovative novel planning software such as bibisco

bibisco helps you to create your story thanks to its novel planning software.

As explained, archetypes are fixed and predefined patterns of behavior that recur in narratives.

The characters, however, are the “mobile” element of the story. They made up of conflicts, uncertainties, mistakes and which evolve over the course of history.

This is what makes a story interesting.

With bibisco, you can easily define the role and behavior of your character thanks to the interview mode.

Character Archetypes Series: #1 What is an archetype? - bibisco character's interview
bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco character’s interview


This article opens a long series of eight other articles about the Character Archetypes.

A question may arise: how is it possible that the narratives are so different from each other if they have the same structure as the archetypes and stages of the Hero’s Journey?

What makes the difference is obviously the context of the narrative itself, as well as the part that is defined for each character.

The nature of each character changes during the story, making them more real and thrilling for the reader.

Some characters amaze us because, in the end, they turn out to be friends like Professor Snape, who turns out to be the one who always looked after Harry Potter, or traitors, like Gollum in The Lord of the Rings.

So, in addition to the plot, it’s the characters that make the difference in the narrative, and in this bibisco helps you to perfectly build the personality of the protagonists of your next story.

The life of your characters before the story’s beginning

The life of your characters before the story’s beginning

“When Martina first noticed Paolo walking down the pavement, she couldn’t believe her eyes. Never in her imagination, she thought about meeting Paolo in such an ordinary circumstance.”

Let’s say it is the beginning of a story. What is Martina going to do next? Aren’t Martina’s past encounters with Paolo would shape her behaviors today?

It surely would because the way all of us humans live the day is the result of our way of being and of our experiences right up to that point.

That’s why backstory is so important for your characters, for them to be humans.

The backstory is what happened to your character before the story began

Getting back to our story, who is this Martina? How old is she? How does she know Paolo? Are they friendly to each other? How does Martina greet someone?

These little details may or may not feature in your story.

But whatever happened to your characters for them to come to this opening point of your story is what an author should find out in the character’s backstory.

It’s the personal history of your characters, a fundamental step in the process of character development.

It is a great tool for the author, as it can hugely benefit in understanding your characters – their fears, inner and outer lives, motivations, etc.

Backstory impacts a character’s behavior and adds depth to the story

Whether it happened yesterday or a long time ago, different events shape a person’s life, and thus, could be included in your character’s backstory.

The richer the character’s backgrounds are, the more depth you would get into your story.

These details would also help you differentiate one character from the other with distinctive actions and dialogues.

Your responsibility as a writer is to give the characters’ human forms and personalities by pulling out significant details from their life history.

Some of these important life events could be:

  • The time, date, and place of birth.
  • Family orientations and the relationships with each other.
  • Personality type, skills and talents.
  • Educational background, profession, passion and hobbies.
  • Current and past relationship status.
  • Political affiliation, spiritual life, life views and goals.
  • Anger triggers, goals, joys, fears, etc.
  • Friends and acquaintances.
  • Biggest failures, successes, tragedies.

So, immerse yourself into your characters and fill their lives with incidents and events. Let your imagination flow and visualize their childhood, their love life, their biggest support and such in the context of your story.

For example, if you know the relationship between Martina and Paolo; you would be able to design how they speak or respond to each other authentically.

It doesn’t matter if in your novel will be shown only one day of the life of our characters: the way they will live that day, every single gesture, will be the result of their way of being and experiences lived before the story’s beginning.

You can utilize novel writing software to create rich backstories

Sketching out the life of your character can easily get a little complicated due to the amount of information you could get. Considering that bibisco, our advanced novel writing software, comes with a fully-featured character’s dashboard.

The life of your characters before the story's beginning - bibisco character's dashboard
bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco character’s dashboard

With elaborate questionnaires regarding the character’s personal data, physical features, behaviors, attitudes, psychology, conflict, evolution, and so on; it challenges the author to think all the minutest details of the character’s life.

The life of your characters before the story's beginning - bibisco character's interview
bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco character’s interview

Intuitive, playful and easily accessible, bibisco keeps the authors motivated and interested to know more and more about their character’s life.


The importance of creating the life of your characters before the story’s beginning can’t be stressed enough. It makes them multi-dimensional, and in turn, makes the story memorable.

As bibisco comes featured with the most detailed dashboard to spell out the backstories of a character, it is now simpler than ever to add depth to your novels.

Are your characters people or stereotypes?

Are your characters people or stereotypes?

Harry Potter, Tom Sawyer, Princess Leia, Romeo and Juliet.

If you are an aspiring writer or an avid reader, you know the abovementioned names aren’t of any ordinary people. They are the protagonists, the main characters of some of the greatest novels of all time.

See, how swiftly you recognized them! As if they were your best companions for a long time. And trust me, they were.

Characters are key to a memorable story

When we read a story or a novel, oftentimes, it’s the characters that we remember the most; not the plot or the conflict. After all, it’s the characters that make a story humane; taking us on a dreamlike journey with their merits, contradictions, flaws, etc.

As a result, if you are writing a novel, the success of it is not going to depend on which novel writing software you are using. But it is certainly going to depend largely on the believability of your characters.

The more humane and real they are with both the perfections and the flaws; the more chance they have got to be genuine and to rise above the generic stereotypes.

Give your characters a unique life of their own

To avoid falling into the trap of stereotypes, the most practical way for writers is to begin with giving characters a life of their own.

Where they were born? How old are they? How do they look like? What relationship do they have with their father? And with the mother? Asking all these questions would gradually give your characters a basic structure.

However, it may also make your characters feel very generic. I mean, you don’t remember Harry Potter just because of how he looked like or where he was born, do you?

Help your characters surprise you

As a general rule, people, even the wicked, are much more naive and simple-hearted than we supposed. And we ourselves are, too.

Fyodor Dostoevsky

People are not as simple and straightforward as non-living things. We are a delicate mix of good and bad, novelty and flaws, selfishness and selflessness, sensitivity and insensitivity, and so on at the same time.

So, your characters shouldn’t be all perfect and rigid. Rather, they should be as surprising and multi-dimensional as the real people.

Utilize a novel planning software like bibisco

bibisco – an innovative novel planning software – offers an exciting feature to dive deep into the complexity of human nature, helping you to create your characters as people and not as stereotypes.

With a set of difficult questions, bibisco guides you to find out information about your characters that don’t easily meet the eyes.

Are your characters people or stereotypes? - bibisco character's dashboard
bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco character’s dashboard

For example, it’s easy to answer whether your character is brave or not. But it’s certainly not easy to answer how is the relationship with their father? Or how do they react to successes and failures? By asking a series of such questions, bibisco would force you to think elaborately about your characters and go beyond the realm of your novel.

Are your characters people or stereotypes? - bibisco character's interview
bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco character’s interview

Eventually, these thoughts and imaginations would shape the ways your characters would be behaving in the particular instances of your story, making them real and not just a stereotype.


While there is no story without conflicts, there is no conflict that the readers would actually care about without real and believable characters. So, make sure your characters represent actual people with all the complexity before giving them challenges to solve.

A novel writing software like bibisco can surely benefit in creating multi-dimensional, humane characters; thanks to its brilliant character development features consisting of a set of difficult questions.

Are you ready to create your characters as people and not as stereotypes? Try out the feature now and let us know how exciting your experience was in the comments!

Are you worthy of the trust of your readers?

Are you worthy of the trust of your readers?

Right now the number of books available is immense.

Through libraries and bookstores, both physical and online, every reader can access almost every book that has ever been written.

So, today more than ever, the reader by starting to read our novel takes an act of trust.

And as writers we have to ask ourselves a question: am I worthy of the trust of my readers?

The principle of suspension of disbelief

To try to answer this fundamental question, let’s introduce the principle of suspension of disbelief.

The principle was introduced by the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge in the fourteenth chapter of his Biographia Literaria, published in 1817.

Are you worthy of the trust of your readers? To try to answer this fundamental question, let's introduce the principle of suspension of disbelief.
bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
Peter Vandyke –, held at the National Portrait Gallery

The principle of suspension of disbelief is a tacit agreement between the reader and the writer in which the reader agrees to suspend his own critical sense and trust the writer’s words while being perfectly aware that it’s fiction.

The principle of suspension of disbelief allows the reader to enjoy the story.

During the reading, the reader doesn’t ask himself questions and, as soon as he closes the book or he turns off his e-reader, the magic stops and the reader returns to reality.

A question of trust

As Coleridge wrote, starting to read a novel, the reader trusts the writer.

And the writer shall act to deserve that trust, otherwise, the reader will stop the reading of the story.

So, how will the writer prove himself worthy of the trust of his readers?

It’s quite simple: the writer must tell a believable story.

And since every story starts from the conflict of characters, a believable story must start from believable characters.

Believable characters

Characters that are completely good or completely evil are stereotypes and therefore are not believable.

Characters are believable when you can understand the complexity of their human nature: qualities, defects, contradictions.

So, how can we create believable characters?

The only way is to know everything about them.

Physical aspect, behavior, psychology, sociology, ideas, passions, their life before the beginning of the novel.

It doesn’t matter if in our novel will be shown even one day of the life of our characters: the way they will live that day, every single gesture, will be the result of their way of being and experiences lived until the day before.

Interview your characters!

bibisco is a novel writing software that can really help you to know your characters.

In order to do this, bibisco proposes a funny and unusual method to know them: an interview!

bibisco proposes a funny and unusual method to know your characters: an interview!
bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco character’s interview

Every aspect to know about a character has a dedicated card and for each aspect a series of questions.

In bibisco every aspect to know about a character has a dedicated card and for each aspect a series of questions.
bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco character’s dashboard

The characters’ interview is one of the bibisco features that writers appreciate the most.

They say that question after question the characters take shape and become real.

It begins with a character, usually, and once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I can do is trot along behind him with a paper and pencil trying to keep up long enough to put down what he says and does.

William Faulkner


By starting to read our novel, readers decide they trust us.

To be worthy of this trust we have to create a believable story based upon believable characters.

The only way to create believable characters is by knowing everything about them. Using bibisco characters’ interviews we can do it in an effective and funny way.