The L&L Blog  /  Writing

The Lover Archetype - A Guide | Literature & Latte

Like hearts and flowers on Valentine's Day, in fiction, the Lover Archetype is everywhere. Find out how to deploy the Lover Archetype with our guide.

Archetypes are useful in fiction as they allow readers to quickly understand the main traits of characters without detailed descriptions. Archetypes are ideas that are so ingrained in humanity that they can be represented simply. When you create a familiar archetype, the reader is able to fill in the blanks, knowing a lot about the character or situation.

One of the most powerful archetypes in fiction is the lover archetype. Love is one of the driving elements in many stories, and in much of our lives. Love is important not only in romance fiction, but also in many other genres. The love arc can be the main plot of a novel, or it can be a side plot, but love stories help make even the most complicated stories more personal. 


What is the lover archetype? 

The lover archetype is the character or characters - there can be more than one in a story - who experiences the most essential of emotions: love. This character seeks togetherness and security, passion and fun, sensuality and pleasure. But the lover doesn't have to be a character in a romcom; it could be someone expressing the love for family, friends, or even animals. The lover archetype is the character who lives for love, and who makes decisions from the heart, rather than from the head. 

There's something invigorating about the early weeks of new love, when the lover archetype sees everything good in the world, and is happy to get up in the morning and go to work, because that feeling of love helps them feel on top of the world. And almost all readers can identify with this character.

In history, the lover archetype has been seen regaling in intimacy, pleasure, and sensuality; she is a hedonist, enjoying life and its many pleasures. These can be sexual or sensual, such as enjoying the smell of flowers, beautiful sunsets, and fine food. But sometimes the character looking for sex is not looking for love, but rather just trying to make conquests, and that character is not an example of the lover archetype, but rather the rake archetype. Most often a man - a womanizer - this sort of character can be a woman too. 

Lover archetype examples

Lover archetype examples include characters like Bridget Jones, who is unhappy in love, but true to her belief that she will find it one day. She faces the ups and downs of love, the pleasures and deception of relationships, but never gives up on believing that love exists. 

Romeo and Juliet are the classic lover archetype examples. The two "star-crossed lovers" go against everyone and everything that stands in their way to fulfill their love. They buck convention, ignoring their parents and families, and fight to be together, even if all does not end well in their story.  

The lover archetype is a staple of adult romance fiction, but is also important in young adult novels. The readers of these books are often at that clumsy time where they are experiencing their first love, or hoping to experience this feeling. This period when young women and men are passing from being children to adulthood is a time of great changes, physical and emotional. Both Hazel and Augustus, in The Fault in Our Stars, are examples of the lover archetype. The fact that they are both doomed makes their desire for love more powerful, and their experiences more poignant. 

We see lover archetype examples in other genres as well. There is often a "love interest" in adventure stories, as an attempt to make the hero into a well-rounded character. Ethan Hunt, played by Tom Cruise in the recent Mission Impossible films,  is the ultimate action hero, but his heroism is underscored by the fact that he had to fake his wife's death for her own safety. His love is so strong that he put the life of his lover ahead of his own happiness. This love interest is only a sub-plot in the Mission Impossible movies, but it's one that returns when needed to show the other side of the ruthless Ethan Hunt. 

Sometimes the lover archetype doesn't even know that they are looking for love. In Groundhog Day, television weatherman Phil Connors relives the same day over and over, and slowly realizes that he was looking for love, which he finds with his producer Rita Hanson. It's only when he realizes this love that he escapes the time loop that has trapped him. 

The lover archetype doesn't have to express romantic love. Samwise Gamgee, in The Lord of the Rings, is Frodo Baggins' best friend, and will follow him to the ends of the (middle) earth. He is faithful and resourceful, and puts Frodo's life before his own.

The lover archetype is common in movies around certain times of the year, such as Christmas, where the love can be romantic or for family, and around Valentine's Day, the annual holiday for lovers. The history of St. Valentine had nothing to do with romantic love until the middle ages, when the idea of spring lovebirds became an element of courtly love. In the 15th century, references were made to Valentine's Day in many countries, establishing the tradition that lives on to the present. On this day, lovers exchange cards, or gifts, and celebrate their love, and their faith that that love will last. 

Using the lover character archetype in Scrivener

When writing in Scrivener, you can use character sketches to record the traits of archetypes, along with other information about your characters, as you build them in your projects. You can create character sketches for archetypes you want to use, then change them to the names of your characters as your project develops. 


Scrivener is writing software designed for you to get writing – and keep writing. Scrivener is the go-to program for writers of all genres, with best-selling novels, screenplays, nonfiction books, student essays, academic papers and more being written with it every day. Scrivener won’t tell you how to write; instead, it will give you everything you need to get started and keep writing, letting you mould the app to how you work best. Why not take a look?

Keep up to date