Saturday, September 18

The Shape of Stories by Kay Keppler

Vonnegut assumed that all stories fell under eight universal archetypes that might be plotted on this graph..

That idea was too far out for the professors committee, which declined the proposition.

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She lives in northern California.

For a comprehensive description of these archetypes, consisting of the graphic representations and a few of the books included in the AI analysis, as well as an amusing YouTube video of Kurt Vonnegut describing how the graphs function, have a look at the post by J.D. Lasica here.

The Man in Hole archetype (in which the protagonist, at excellent individual threat, need to thwart a threat), when graphed, looked like a U and Boy Meets Girl looked like an N.

” Readers come to a novel with specific expectations,” Jockers said. Literary experimentalists like James Joyce can get away with this sort of rule breaking. She lives in northern California.

Vonneguts theory was that any story could be charted along a vertical and horizontal axis, offering it a particular shape..

In his work, he demonstrates how popular authors tend to follow the same storytelling patterns: Isaac Asimov tended to prefer The Quest and Descent archetypes, while Danielle Steel prefers Man in the Hole..

Kay Keppler is an author Zero Gravity Outcasts, Betting on Hope, Gargoyle: Three Enchanting Romance Novellas, and editor of fiction and nonfiction– Angels Kiss and Outsource It!

Archetypes as Guideposts for the Shape of Your Stories.



Barany School of Fiction provides a story structure course: “Choose Your Storys Structure: Learn the ins and outs of five effective storytelling structures” .


More than thirty years ago, for his masters thesis at the University of Chicago, Kurt Vonnegut proposed to demonstrate that classic stories from popular culture had foreseeable plot arcs that might be graphed..

Lets welcome back regular monthly columnist, editor, and novelist, Kay Keppler, as she shares with us “The Shape of Stories.” Delight in!

Story Structure Architect: A Writers Guide to Building Dramatic Situations and Compelling Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt .

Eight Universal Archetypes and the Shape of Stories.


Authors sometimes like to think that the book theyre composing has actually never been done prior to. However more likely, they are (or hope they are) giving an old story a new twist.

What he discovered confirms Vonneguts theory about story shapes.

Kurt Vonneguts Theory on the Shape of Stories.

The horizontal axis represented narrative time (the “B/E” axis)..

Dean Koontz frequently uses the Rags to Riches archetype, which Stephen King prevents.

The Heroines Journey: For Writers, Readers, and Fans of Pop Culture by Gail Carriger .

Now a current analysis utilizing expert system has actually proved his theory..

Jockerss AI analysis adds another measurement to the work others have actually done..

Scenes that evoked great fortune were plotted at the top of the vertical axis, and story events that resulted in ill fortune fell below the mean (the “G/I” axis)..

Of course, great deals of people have actually discussed universal story plots, shapes, or archetypes..

AI Analysis and the Graphing of the Shape of Stories.

” Readers pertain to a novel with certain expectations,” Jockers said. “If you stray too far as an author, it can betray readers desires– or even worse, bore the hell out of them. Literary experimentalists like James Joyce can get away with this sort of rule breaking. Ulysses, for all its wonder, never ever made it onto tens of millions of readers nightstands.”.

Some books on story structure.

More popular short articles by Kay Keppler on Writers Fun Zone:.

Matthew Jockers, a scholar and data scientist who has actually written 2 books on text mining, developed an AI program that examined thousands of popular novels..

No one is recommending that authors utilize these archetypes– or any others– as a plan for their work. These tools can assist you form a conceptual structure for your story, a standard of sorts to assist you see what has actually worked in the past and shape where you desire to take your characters.



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