The Creator Archetype - Everything You Need to Know

Doug Landsborough
February 22, 2022
April 20, 2023

This is the ninth article in our fifteen-part masterclass on archetypes. Learn more about archetypes in our first article.

To the surprise of very few, the Creator character archetype embodies those who like to make things. Usually some sort of artist, inventor, scientist, musician, or writer, Creator archetypes are usually single-minded in their pursuit to bring something new into the world.

Like all character archetypes, the Creator exists because this passion to make things is a cross-cultural, timeless set of traits that most people can identify and understand pretty easily.

But like all the other archetypes, Creators are simple, two-dimensional characters. They require complexity and flaws. They can be amazing but must also be fallible. So, for those reasons, we’re going to talk about:

  • What the Creator Archetype is
  • What Creators do
  • Common Creator characteristics
  • Creators in popular culture

This is the ninth article in our fifteen-part masterclass on archetypes. Learn more about archetypes in our first article to see all the different ways you can make your characters more complex and believable.

What is the Creator Archetype?

When I say that Creators like to make things, that is intentionally vague. The Creator archetype is like an umbrella that can hold many different types of characters.

Perhaps one Creator is a sculptor, while another only cares about creating a new medical invention.

Regardless of what their creation is, Creators only care about bringing that thing to life. As a result, they use their imagination and creativity to push the boundaries of what we know and what is real. If it already exists, a Creator really doesn’t care about it. Recreating or repeating something is meaningless to this archetype.

Creators are trailblazers, renaissance people, leaders, and forward thinkers. Others will view this character as ahead of their time and obsessively committed to perfecting that one thing.

To a Creator, second place is as bad as last place and nothing will stand in the way of realizing their creation.

What Do Creator Archetypes Do?

Creators can play pivotal roles in fiction. Though they usually aren’t the main character, stories in the speculative fiction genres might feature a Creator archetype who is pivotal in saving the world, like a scientist making a cure or an inventor finishing their awesome robot with rocket launchers and laser eyes.

In more realistic settings, Creators can solve a math problem or complete their artistic masterpiece. In these cases, the Creator might be the protagonist, depending on what that math problem or piece of art means to the story.

Reversing roles, Creators can also make great villains and antagonists. A mad scientist is a Creator when their creation is a virus or a world-destroying super weapon. A serial killer can be a Creator if their macabre art is made through murder.

In fact, the obsession of a Creator and their willingness to sacrifice themselves and those around them in pursuit of their creation can be used to craft fantastic villains.

What Are Typical Creator Archetype Characteristics?

Because of their obsession with their invention or art, Creators combine strong traits of talent and narrowmindedness. This is a common thread amongst most Creators, but there are some traits, positive and negative, that you can apply to your Creator character to make them familiar and relatable to your reader.

For the more positive traits, Creators can be:

  • Authentic
  • Creative
  • Driven
  • Imaginative
  • Intelligent (even if only in their own way)
  • Non-conforming
  • Passionate
  • Practical
  • Talented

In the pursuit of their creation, this archetype is also:

  • Egotistical
  • Immoral
  • Impulsive
  • Insensitive
  • Perfectionists
  • Selfish
  • Single-minded
  • Unreliable

Creators fear mediocrity above all else and will do anything they can, no matter the cost, to avoid it. To accomplish this, Creators push their intelligence and creativity to their limits, braving new trails. Most Creators will walk this path alone, as the majority of those who fall under this archetype are introverts, yet a shocking number of them can have god complexes.

Examples Of The Creator Archetypes in Popular Culture

Creators have been staples in pop culture for decades. When it comes to these sorts of characters, it is easy for the audience to connect with their desire to accomplish something bigger than themselves, even if that desire isn’t a very nice one. Here are some of the more well-known Creators in pop culture.

Iron Man/Tony Stark from Marvel comics and the MCU is probably the most popular Creator in modern storytelling. It’s Tony’s Creator traits that push him to create the first Iron Man suit while he is being held prisoner, allowing him to escape. But after that, he continues to make new Iron Man suits, improving his creation to tackle any threat that might present itself.

Dr. Victor Frankenstein isn’t as popular today as in the past, but he is the gold standard for a flawed Creator. A brilliant doctor, Frankenstein stops at nothing to bring his creation to life. He robs graves to assemble body parts, but is ultimately disappointed when his creation doesn’t live up to his standards (because it’s so ugly, which is rude). Frankenstein then pays the price for his creation through the death of those around him, specifically his newly wedded wife, and ends up dedicating his life to destroying the monster.

Karen Eiffel from Stranger Than Fiction is a Creator who is, for all intents and purposes, the antagonist of her story. Karen is an author who always kills off her characters, unaware that what she writes happens to real people. When confronted with the reality of what she writes, Karen has a psychological breakdown where she struggles to reconcile the harm that her creations cause. Eventually, she does change the ending to her book to save Harold Crick, but even that is a difficult choice for her.

Craft a Complex Creator in Dabble

Creators are characters who can play many different roles in your stories—protagonists, antagonists, secondary, or tertiary characters—and add a lot of complexity through their actions and thoughts.

But creating such complex characters isn’t easy! That’s why Dabble was built to house all your story and character notes in one place, just a single click away from your story. If you’re ready to craft your own Creator and write an awesome book, click here to try Dabble for fourteen days, completely free, no credit card required.

Happy writing!

Doug Landsborough

Doug Landsborough can’t get enough of writing. Whether freelancing as an editor, blog writer, or ghostwriter, Doug is a big fan of the power of words. In his spare time, he writes about monsters, angels, and demons under the name D. William Landsborough. When not obsessing about sympathetic villains and wondrous magic, Doug enjoys board games, horror movies, and spending time with his wife, Sarah.