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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Welcome Vickie McDonough and Finally a Bride

Please interact with our guest authors by answering the question they provide. Your response will also enter you in the drawing for a free book.


VICKIE MCDONOUGH is an award-winning author of 23 books and novellas. Her books have won the Inspirational Reader's Choice Contest, Texas Gold, the ACFW Noble Theme contest, and she has been a multi-year finalist in ACFW’s BOTY/Carol Awards. She was voted Third Favorite Author in the Heartsong Presents Annual Readers Contest in 2009. Vickie is the author of the fun and feisty Texas Boardinghouse Brides series from Barbour Publishing. Watch for her new books from Moody Press, Texas Trails: A Morgan Family series, in which she partners with Susan Page Davis and Darlene Franklin to write a 6-book series that spans 50 years of the Morgan family. The first three books release this fall. Also, next year brings the release of another new series from Guidepost Books, Whispers on the Prairie, set in 1870s Kansas. Vickie hopes readers find her stories An Adventure into Romance.

by Vickie McDonough
Published by Barbour Publishing


Keep your eyes wide open for romance in Lookout, Texas. Noah Jeffers enters town determined to make up for past misdeeds. Reporter Jacqueline Davis is determined to nail her story. Will she uncover Noah’s secret before he can capture her heart? With nowhere else to go, ex-con Carly Payton returns to the Lookout boardinghouse. Garrett Corbett is looking for an upstanding wife, not some jailbird. What will he do when overpowered by Carly’s unassuming appeal? Does love deserve a second look?

Readers, buy your copy of Finally a Bride (Texas Boardinghouse Brides, Book 3) today!


Developing Characters Using Archetypes
By Vickie McDonough

I’ve often been asked how I create the characters in my books, and I generally respond, “That’s a tough question.”

It is tough, because like a baby in a womb, a character will start tiny, then grow and develop as I spend more time thinking about him or her. They sometimes develop because of the plot. Say my character is a marshal—this is probably a good time to mention I write mostly historicals. A marshal is brave, tough, not afraid to put his life on the line, so it’s safe to assume he’s probably an Alpha male. Tall, strong, self-reliant, and a protector of the innocent. Can you imagine a Beta male as a marshal? Think computer geek with a gun. It reminds me of that old Don Knotts’ movie called The Shakiest Gun in the West. 

I’m not saying you couldn’t have a Beta male as a marshal, but that would be a whole different type of story, probably about a man learning to conquer his fears to protect the people he cares for.

Some writers use character sheets with long list of questions to develop their characters, while others use tests like the Myers-Briggs or The Four Temperaments. What I’ve found that works best for me is a book called The Complete Writers Guide to Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes by Tami D. Cowden, Caro LaFever, and Sue Viders.

The word "archetype" was coined by Carl Jung, who theorized that humans have a collective unconscious, “deposits of the constantly repeated experiences of humanity.... a kind of readiness to reproduce over and over again the same or similar mythical ideas...." This shared memory of experiences has resulted in a resonance of the concepts of hero and heroine that transcends time, place and culture. Jung called these recurring personalities archetypes, from the Greek word archetypos, meaning “first of its kind.”

Author Tami Cowden states, “These archetypes are not the inventions of my coauthors and me – they have existed for millennia. All we did was name and describe them, and then gather examples from an assortment of cultural media.

Heroes and Heroines promotes that there are 8 male and 8 female archetypes.

The Chief
The Bad Boy
The Best Friend
The Charmer
The Lost Soul
The Professor
The Swashbuckler
The Warrior

The book gives a complete description of each archetype, including their strengths and weaknesses, which I’ve found extremely helpful in developing 3-D characters. The Warrior is an archetype I’ve used in several books, such as Luke Davis in The Anonymous Bride. Here’s a brief description:

The WARRIOR: a noble champion, he acts with honor. This man is the reluctant rescuer or the knight in shining armor. He's noble, tenacious, relentless, and he always sticks up for the underdog. If you need a protector, he’s your guy. He doesn’t buckle under the rules and he doesn’t go along just to get along. Think Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry, Russell Crowe in Gladiator, Mel Gibson in Braveheart.

You can see how this type of archetype would work well for a marshal, a determined rancher, or detective.

Heroine Archetypes:

The Boss
The Seductress
The Spunky Kid
The Waif
The Free Spirit
The Librarian
The Crusader
The Nurturer

An archetype I often use for a heroine—think of Jack (Jacqueline) in The Anonymous Bride and Second Chance Brides—is The Spunky Kid. (For those of you who’ve read these books and are saying, Jack’s not the heroine—try reading Finally A Bride, book 3 in my Texas Boardinghouse Brides series.

The SPUNKY KID: gutsy and true, she is loyal to the end. She is a favorite of many writers, and for good reason. You can’t help but root for her. She’s the girl with moxie. She’s not looking to be at the top of the heap; she just wants to be in her own little niche. Think Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle, Melanie Griffith in Working Girl, Mary Tyler Moore in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act, Fiona in Shrek.

So, after I’ve thought about my characters and what they will be going through during the storyline, their character begins to take shape. By then, I know which archetype they are and can use the book to help me develop them further.

Another aspect of Heroes and Heroines is that it shows you toward the end of the book how the different male and female archetypes will clash and mesh. This is fabulous info! Let me show you how I used this to plot a book I haven’t yet sold. It’s called Gabriel’s Atonement.

Gabriel is a gambler, and he’s a Chief archetype. He’s knows what he wants and goes after it. He’s decisive and can read people well. On the negative side, he’s stubborn, usually unsympathetic, and has learned to get what he wants by using the System rather than being a rule-breaker. He is well-liked among his peers, but doesn’t have a close friend. If challenged, he tends to be amused rather than angered.

Enter Leah, my heroine, who is—no surprise here—a Spunky Kid. She’s a single mother with a young child, a rebellious teen sister, and a grandfather who is ailing to care for. She is reliable and supportive of others and never looks for a handout. Her gutsy perseverance makes up for her lack of experience.

So…Gabriel has accidently killed Leah’s husband, and when he discovers the dead man has a wife and young son, he seeks to return the money he fairly won from the man. Leah doesn’t believe her no-account husband had any money and refuses Gabe’s help. He’s determined to help her, and she’s adamant that she won’t accept his help. Enter conflict.

He believes his work (gambling) is important, where she believes in God and family. But, when the chips are down, The Chief and Spunky Kid are there for each other. He realizes she is someone he can depend on, while she discovers he’s a man who follows through when others don’t. A grudging respect develops. He learns she can’t be bullied into doing anything she doesn’t feel is right, while her positive outlook on life and her humor bring laughter into his world for the first time in a long while.

I could go on, but I hope I’ve shown you how Heroes and Heroines can help you develop your characters. This isn’t the only book out there that writers find helpful, but it is the one I’ve used the most.

The key is knowing why your characters do what they do. What motivates them? Tami Cowden states, “Any archetype can do anything – the question will always be why.”

For a little fun, which archetype do you think these commonly known movie characters are?

Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic
Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark
Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz
Kathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone

* * * * *

Thank you, Vickie, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: Look at the end of the guest blog to make your guess on the archetypes of the 4 well-known movie characters listed above.

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name at domainname dot com/net) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of the book above. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.


Toyin O. said...

This sounds like a great book, I will have to check it out:)

squiresj said...

My choices to archetypes are as follows:
Leonardo DiCaprio - The Best Friend and a little of The Charmer

Harrison Ford - The Warrior

Judy Garland - The Spunky Kid

Kathleen Turner - The Crusader

jrs362 at hotmail dot com

Vickie McDonough said...

You're partly correct, Jane. Feel free to try again.

Hi Toyin. Thanks for stopping by.

Debra E. Marvin said...

Leo is a charmer in pretty much all his roles!

Harrison Ford -Hiding under the professor is a reluctant swashbuckler

Judy - waif

Kathleen - the librarian who finally lets her hair down.

This book came highly recommended and I hope to use it for my next manuscript. In my current WIP, I gave my characters the Myers Briggs test and was amazed how 'accurate' they were to one type. It's a lot of fun to analyze our characters!

Thanks Amber and Vickie. I'd love to be in the drawing for Vickie's book!
debraemarvin (at)yahooooo

Debbie Lynne Costello said...

I'm not a big movie person so I've only watched 2 of these. I'll have to guess by title on them.

Leo I have to agree- The Charmer
Harrison- The Swashbuckler
Judy- She almost seems like a cross between a nurturer and a crusader to me. The way she cares for each of them and fights for them. But I'll go with nurturer.
Kathleen- wow what do you do with a title like that? Romancing would make me say seductress but the stone? would make me say Free spirit. I guess I'll have to take a very wild guess and say Free spirit.

Debra E. Marvin said...

Debbie Lynne, I think you'd like Romoncing the Stone and Kathleen's role as romance writer! Shy, inexperienced romance writer. Cute.

Vickie McDonough said...

Great guesses, everyone.

I'm with Debra, I think you'd like Romancing the Stone, Debbie. It's about a romance writer who dreams of finding a handsome hunk like the men she writes about. Then her sister gets in trouble, and the writer is pulled out of her safe world into the wilds of Columbia. It's exciting, funny, and a pretty safe romance.

Debbie Lynne Costello said...

I never watch tv and Joe is always happy when I'll watch a movie with him. I'll have him put that on the netflix list. Thanks ladies!