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Kurt Vonnegut’s wanted to write an MA thesis on the common shapes of stories: he was told it was too simple. He can be found in various interviews and presentations waxing lyrical about the shape stories take.
His are: 1) Cinderella: needs no elaboration. Applies to incremental steps of progress, radical failure then absolute glory.
2) Boy Meets Girl similar: we know it. Applies to any story of desire for something, its loss, then recovery. Also rom-com territory.
3) Man in a Whole: things go bad, then you get out of your whole. Shawshank Redemption. Martian. Haruki Murakami wrote a novel in which the protagonist was really down a well much of the time. I feel I’m most inclined to relate to and to write this one.
4) New Testament: like Cinderella–gifted things, which are then taken away before being returned with interest.
5) Old Testament: gifted things that are taken away forever.
6) Creation Stories: God made Earth in seven days …
7) From Bad to Worse: And it never gets better. Says it all. Fallen.
8) Which Way Is Up: That ambiguity in life where we don’t know what is good or bad from actions and events. Probably the hardest to sustain. Hamlet.
What you get if you use a plot generator
Have a go with Plot Generator
Of far better use is TV Tropes, which is a cross-media analysis of story types, with examples and links to the authors.
Fig.1. Letters from Iwa Jima. Clint Eastwood directed Movie.
In one of those bizarre, magic ways the brain works, last nigmt I watched the Clint Eastwood film ‘Letters from Iwo Jima’ then stayed up reading in bed (quest for a very specific paper/set of papers on teenagers/young adults, health, presription medication) while waiting for my own teenagers to come in from a concert in Brighton.
Fig.2. Last minute reading for H809 TMA01
I stumbled upon ‘Teenagers and Technology’ by Chris Davies and Rebecca Eynon.
After a chapter of this I did a One Click on Amazon and kept on reading through the next couple of chapters.
I kept reading once they got home.
My mind constructed a dream in which instead of bagging letters home from soldiers, I found myself, Japanese of course, constructing, editing and reassembling some kind of scroll or poster. I could ‘re-enter’ this dream but frankly don’t see the point – it seems self-evident. I’ll be cutting and pasting my final thoughts, possibly literally on a 6ft length of backing wall paper (I like to get away from a keyboard and screen from time to time). Reinforced by a Business School module, B822 Creativity Innovation and Change I found that ‘working with dreams’ and ‘keeping a dream diary’ are some of the tools that can be used.
If I wish to I could re-enter this dream over the next few months as a short cut to my subconscious.
I’m not sure how you’d come up with a Harvard Reference for a dream.
Fig.3. fMRI scan – not mine, though they did me a few years ago
Perhaps in 20 years time when we can where an fMRI scanner like a pair of headphones a set of colourised images of the activity across different parts of the brain could be offered.
Dream on 🙂