The archetype of the black widow strikes a chord of fear, doesn’t it? The concept of the woman, who systematically kills her husbands or lovers to gain something, usually money, from the act, goes against the grain for most women.
And yet…something lurks, something dark and deadly, and we’re fascinated by it.
As I’ve pondered this archetype, I’ve wondered how it developed through history, maybe even going back to primordial times. Was it possible that for a woman to survive in a harsh tribal environment, she had to be incredibly clever and devious, maybe even be willing to commit murder, if she hoped to see the next sunrise? We’re so civilized these days, but what if in those times, a woman had to possess a brutal streak or neither she nor her children would survive.
Tip: The best thing to do with the study of archetypes is to try to figure out how the subject at hand resonates with you, what images come to mind when you think of the archetype, in this case ‘the black widow’. Now take those images and see if you can transform that into an element in your current WIP.
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Caris Roane is the author of six paranormal novels for St. Martin’s Press and several indie pubbed novellas. Writing as Valerie King, she has published fifty novels and Novellas in Regency Romance. Caris lives in Phoenix, Arizona, really doesn’t like scorpions, and has two cats, Gizzy and Sebastien.
(Photographer/artist – please note: If any of the above photos belong to you, I would be happy to include your credit here as well as a link to your website! Thanks, Caris Roane)