Thursday, March 7, 2013

Story Basics in Graph, Table, and Diagram

Here's a clean copy of Kurt Vonnegut's graph of character arcs from the shape of stories video.
Kurt Vonnegut's diagram illustrated by Elaine Greywalker
In the video, he mentions that the names of the plot arcs are just reminders; not limitations. For example: Boy Gets Girl is your basic romantic comedy no matter who gets whom.

The "Cinderella" plot line (which Kurt says will make you a million dollars) could be fitted to the character arc of Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games trilogy—with modifications. The first book is classic Cinderella. Over the entire trilogy, it's a bit different. Primarily, Katniss goes below her beginning level, unlike Cinderella. Secondarily, she ends in the mid-level between Good and Ill Fortune. An interesting exercise would be to graph her arc across the trilogy on Kurt's chart.

Here's Aristotle's version, which is rather more conceptual.
Aristotle's Table of Plots
A good exercise would be to make character arc graphs for these concepts. 

By the way, the central line is "moderate complexity" in case you were wondering. I know I was.

While reading Story by Robert McKee, I made this triangular diagram which is a modification of Mr. McKee's from page 45 of the book.
My version of Rober McKee's plot triangle.
The three corners are indicators of plot types and not quantity of plots. Mr. McKee doesn't write much about the non-narrative plot area. It's still a big undiscovered sea. And, yes, another good exercise would be to make character arc graphs from this triangle.

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