I just read a post about lesser-known character archetypes on the Writers Helping Writers site. One of the types was a cloudcuckoolander. The example of Dory, the forgetful fish from Finding Nemo (say that three times fast), is a great one.
But, in reading the description of a cloudcuckoolander, the first character that leapt to mind was Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter.
Quirky, living in their own unrealistic world of rainbows and unicorns (Unikitty from Cloud Cuckoo Land ring any Lego Movie bells?), making absurd comments (often in the midst of a dire situation), providing unique perspectives (that no one else sees)… But not your average oddball. And not an airhead by any means.
No. A cloudcuckoolander is an all-around peculiar person who, frequently, rescues the other characters by means of an idea so outlandish that it takes everyone aback before they give it a thought and realize it’s actually going to work. “Thinking outside the box” doesn’t quite cut it for me here so I’ll say this type of character is “Living outside the box”.
It takes a special set of characters (like Harry, Hermione, and Ron, among others) to give the cloudcuckoolander his or her due. To accept, acknowledge, listen to, and recognize the potential of someone who is off in her own world while they are firmly set in theirs. It might, understandably, be difficult to tolerate someone talking about Nargles while you’re being attacked by DeathEaters.
Despite her wacky, kooky ways (I daresay because of them), Luna helped the Hogwarts trio numerous times throughout the seven-book series.
She is smart (she was in Ravenclaw, after all) but it was her belief in the strange and unusual that led her to an invisible, paralyzed, bloodied-up Harry on the Hogwarts Express. Remember that? (Though, being the geek that I am, I must mention Luna saved him in the film version, not the book. Point still stands.)
They’re those “funny” characters that have to say things like “That was a joke” because they’re always saying bizarre things with straight faces and the other characters have no frame of reference for the cloudcuckoolander’s sense of humor.
Yes, I’m a Potterhead (and in good company, I’m sure). But what I want to know is if you have used this particular archetype or think that, perhaps, you could add one to your WIP to improve the plot.
Personally, I don’t introduce characters to the plot, they introduce themselves to the me. But I’m thinking I actually have a cloudcuckoolander in one of the books I’m working on and I am having a great deal of fun with that.
Have you ever heard of the cloudcuckoolander? Do you have any of these characters in your story?
Do you know any cloudcuckoolanders from books/TV/movies?
Hi! I am Princess Unikitty, and I welcome you all to Cloud Cuckoo Land!
Please do check out the Lesser-Known Character Archetypes post on Writers Helping Writers site (from the brilliant Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi).